New group to shape vision for Hadleigh

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The first meeting of a new group formed to discuss key issues that will shape the future of Hadleigh has taken place.

Hadleigh’s steering group has been set up with the aim of improving dialogue between the town’s businesses, community and Babergh District Council.

Made up of four district councillors, two town councillors, the town clerk and two members of the chamber of commerce, the group will focus on tourism, job creation and young people.

Members met for the first time at Hadleigh Leisure Centre on Monday.

“This is a cross-party and cross-community group and the meeting went very well,” said county and district councillor Brian Riley, pictured, who has been named as chairman.

“The idea is that we try to have a focused view on what we would like Hadleigh to look like in the next five, seven, 10 and 20 years.”

Mr Riley said the organisation, which welcomes input from residents, would explore ways to make the town more popular with visitors.

It will also at look at where new jobs could be created, the pressure on housing and ways to get the best out of the town’s young people.

“Everybody wants to work together and this is a great opportunity,” said Mr Riley, from Benton Street.

“Hadleigh is at a cross-roads, with a number of pressures on the town. We need to focus on where we want to be.”

The group, which will meet once a month, will also discuss major town topics, such as the future of the Brett Works site and what will become of East House.

“Brett Works comes under tourism and jobs and one idea that has come up is for a riverside path, to provide more green space,” said Mr Riley.

“We also want to look at bringing in high-level jobs and there are other ideas.”

Tony Addison, president of Hadleigh Chamber of Commerce, who also attended the meeting, said he believed the group would prove to be of great benefit.

“This is a very positive step as it releases Babergh from discussing some issues and allows serious input from the community,” he said.

“We have a good mix of people involved and there were lots of business representatives from the High Street there.”

Mr Addison said the group would take its time to tackle the long-running issues in the town.

“It has been a while since everyone has worked together but there is a clear path for that to happen,” he said.

“Initially, we will be working towards the short-term with a long-term vision in mind and subsidiary parties will discuss different subjects.”

Mr Addison said a date for the group’s February meeting was still to be confirmed.