A Sudbury Town Plan

WHAT SHOULD BE IN A SUDBURY PLAN?

This is OUR TOWN. We have had enough of things being done to us or for us. We are not sure of the proposed legally binding ‘Action Plan’. Who are the parties to it? Who will monitor the process of implementation over the years? Will it be flexible to take account of sites becoming available? Will it be on permanent display with maps etc regularly updated so that we can monitor progress? Will it be resistant to political change?

ELEMENTS

These have been gleaned  from the recent Mercury article and our reaction to them, plus other considerations –

CAR PARKS
OPEN SPACES
ALLOTMENTS
ROADS
KEY DEVELOPMENTS ALONGSIDE SPECIFIC DEVELOPMENTS – HAMILTON ROAD, MARKET HILL, BELLE VUE JUNCTION.
LOCAL TRANSPORT PLAN (Suffolk)

LOCAL TRANSPORT PLAN Able to cope with through traffic, locally generated traffic, assess possible solutions within the town, around it or beyond it. Will the inclusion of the bypass inhibit short and long term solutions? Up to date analysis of heavy traffic routes and flows. See addendum on bypass.

PARITY BETWEEN PEDESTRIANS, CYCLISTS AND VEHICLES Audit town identifying situations where it is not there – pavements, crossings, intersections – and produce a plan for remedial action. Traffic speeds might be better controlled by physical measures than by statutory limits which need to be monitored.
From Babergh’s Core Strategy 2011-2031: “a hierarchy of travel – walking, cycling, public transport, commercial vehicles and cars”.

BELLE VUE AREA many components to this –safe accessible and convenient pedestrian access to Park, developments on Belle Vue site, redevelopment of St Leonards, ex Tax Office site, BT building and site, traffic able to turn up Newton Road, pavements both sides of latter.

HAMILTON ROAD can some immediate work be undertaken in the light of the much delayed redevelopment eg resolution of the junction of Great Eastern Road and Station Road to ease traffic flow and make pedestrian movement less hazardous? If ”bus station” is to be outside the development area then get on with it.
A realistic time scale for redevelopment would help –2 years, 5 years, 10?

MARKET HILL This should embrace King Street, Old Market Place, entry into Friars Street and Gainsborough Street as well as Market Hill itself. This magnificent space, presided over by St Peters, should be the civic heart of the town but is it? On Market Days and on other occasions when cars are excluded, yes, but at other times it is a car park. Old Market Place is potentially a fine space but it is carved up by kerbs and various features. Various abortive schemes have been proposed but all have failed on the crucial issue of car parking. Any Action Plan has to address this, probably by some form of shared space. A French or Italian town with a space of this quality would prioritise its use by people, as a destination in its own right. This has to be a sticking point for the Society

SOME ADDED POINTS

ACCESSIBILITY for all as a guiding principle – to move around, use loos, get into buildings, sit down,

SIGNAGE, CLUTTER, WIRESCAPE – a survey and programme for remedial action

HISTORIC STREETS – care for them as well as for the historic properties which line them

LOCALLY LISTED BUILDINGS – protection against damaging alterations

SHOPS POLICY – paydays, betting shops, fast food outlets

LIVING IN THE TOWN CENTRE – a policy to increase residential accommodation, identify possible sites, including over shops and ground level uses. Parking?

CLIMATE CHANGE – as an influence, eg shop awnings, covered spaces and seating

RESITE SANDY LANE USES – recycling centre, oil fuel depot, industrial units

URBAN MENDING – the town’s unlovely backsides, such as properties backing on to the North Street carpark

SUDBURY BYPASS

We need to be realistic both about the benefits of a western bypass and the likelihood of its being built within a reasonable time scale, if at all.

Benefits – heavy through traffic uses the A134/A131 to/from Bury and the A134/A1071 to/from the Ipswich and Colchester directions. A western bypass would suit the first but the second only if traffic were persuaded to use the A134 Northern Road. Has traffic on the two routes been analysed? Would town generated lorries using the bypass exacerbate Melford Road’s traffic burden?

Likelihood – the controlling criteria are economic viability and environmental impact and in the present economic climate these are increasingly likely to be applied rigorously.

We need to sort out heavy through traffic in the short term, if this cannot be done within the town then we need to look beyond it – where? A131/Halstead? If there is no certainty about the bypass we need to arrive at long term solutions – an A12/A134 junction in some form?

Banking on the bypass could inhibit progress toward short and long term solutions. We might get nearer to both if we were to collaborate with Halstead who are also agonising over traffic and bypass etc.. Discussions between the two towns was mooted – have they taken place ?– we share the same traffic.

There would most likely be consequent negative environmental impacts on the town’s historic and jealously guarded western edge. Possible related developments could be housing on the desirable slopes of Ballingdon Hill between the present A131 and the bypass, a very convenient out of town connection to the Brundon Lane industrial site (useful homes for the resited recycling centre and lorry park), and transport related facilities at the junction with the Melford bypass.

Stephen Thorpe 18 AUGUST 2014