Sudbury’s retail environment and traffic management issues will be high on the agenda for 2013, according to prominent town figures.
The Free Press gathered mayor Jack Owen, Suffolk county councillors John Sayers and Colin Spence, Winch and Blatch director Judith Blatch and Chamber of Commerce chairman John McMillan to discuss their hopes and expectations for 2013.
Mr Owen, who became mayor in 2012, said: “I’d like to see the Hamilton Road site sorted out to develop a bus station, cinema and retail complex Sudbury can be proud of,” he said, adding that more needed to be done to help disabled and elderly shoppers parking in Sudbury.
“Our road systems will get gradually worse and we need to be looking at developing them for the future – unless we do, it will be a major problem with the Chilton Woods development.”
“I’d like to see a cinema in the town, there are far too many people going elsewhere for that,” said Mr Sayers, who added that he would like to see Belle Vue House gain listed status and that “serious attention” needed to be given to the junctions at Great Eastern Road and the train station, and in King Street.
Mrs Blatch explained that shoppers “get what they pay for” with the town centre and must use Sudbury’s shops if they want to keep them.
“If people do all their shopping online and out of town there won’t be a thriving town centre in five to 10 years’ time,” she said. “As long as they do some town centre shopping in that mix, that will help us.”
She also echoed Mr Sayers’ sentiments about roadworks.
“Anyone with building projects in mind for Sudbury has to be mindful of the impacts on the businesses and give serious consideration to what benefits it will bring,” she said.
Mr McMillan said the Chamber of Commerce had reached 100 members and was making progress in fighting off short–stay parking charges in Sudbury.
“We still have a lot of work to do but we have made a lot of progress with the charitable trust to take these charges off the agenda permanently,” he explained.
Mr McMillan also praised Sudbury’s live music scene as “one of the best in the country”.
Mr Spence said 2013 promised to be as difficult a year for public services as 2012.
“My hope is that people give some thought to what they would like to see Sudbury look like in the next five to 10 years, and then start thinking about how we can achieve it,” he said.