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Steering group role questioned by Sudbury town councillors

Draft plans for Sudbury bus station two be split over two sites. ANL-150906-143233001
Draft plans for Sudbury bus station two be split over two sites. ANL-150906-143233001

Sudbury steering group, which chose the controversial plan for a split-hub bus station, came under fire from councillors at a meeting this week.

At Tuesday’s Sudbury Town Council meeting to discuss the bus station plans, the steering group – which chose the split-hub site as the preferred option – was described as undemocratic.

Before the meeting of the council’s highways and footpaths committee had even started, recently-elected councillors Nick Irwin and Luke Cresswell questioned the right of the Sudbury steering group to advise on important aspects of the town’s future.

Mr Cresswell asked why the town council could not have made the decision itself, having representatives from the town, district and county councils.

The debate continued throughout the meeting with chairman, Sudbury’s mayor Jack Owen, having to ask for committee members, and responding members of the public, to stick to the agenda.

The committee had met to discuss the bus station plans in order to give fellow town councillor Nigel Bennett advice on the council’s line for the station exhibition, which starts today.

The committee failed initially to give any feedback, forcing Mr Bennett to ask the members to reconsider and come up with their thoughts.

Members of the public and watching town and district councillors were aghast as some committee members appeared to show a lack of awareness of the contents of documentation on the options.

Mr Irwin began criticising a proposal which had already been rejected by the steering group. He was advised of the preferred option by members of the public.

But many of the councillors in the room did not speak at all during the hour and a half discussion.

After the meeting one councillor told the Free Press that they had been left disappointed.

“I wasn’t inspired for the steering group to be dropped and the town council to take over to drive the project,” the councillor said.

“The benefit of the steering group is that you’ve got people elected on by their various groups, to share their expertise.

“The views and expertise of these various groups, such as the Sudbury Society, is something you don’t get on the town council.”

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