Babergh and Mid Suffolk
JOINT LOCAL PLAN 2016 – 2036
RESPONSE BY THE SUDBURY SOCIETY TO INITIAL CONSULTATION
Sudbury was established at the river crossing. It has a distinct edge to the meadows and riverside which has largely been maintained apart from the unfortunate industrial area and football centre beyond the line of the old railway.
The town has therefore only been able to expand in one general west to east direction. The further it continues to expand from the historic centre the more problematic becomes the matter of getting to and from it. This without specific intervention will mean more car journeys and more pressure on parking provision. The town centre cannot accommodate any more parking space than at present unless its unique character is further and irrevocably diminished.
This implies more reliance on transport other than by car – ie buses, taxis and limited walking and cycling. The increased use of both East Street/Waldingfield Road and Newton Road will impact on Belle Vue junction, increasingly a congestion hotspot. Expansion of deregulated bus services is unlikely, indeed they are retracting, without sufficient subsidy. Can we accept that parking should be paid for to this end? The present bus services are limited, and particularly of little value to people needing to access the Health Centre, hence the limited use made of them and reliance on cars and taxis. Good frequent town services with properly accessible buses are badly needed.
Despite the promise of good local facilities in Chilton Woods and subsequent developments the town centre will become more of a draw to both local people and tourists particularly with the development of Gainsborough House and the likelihood, yet to be confirmed, of a hotel close to the town centre.
Despite likely increased pressure on parking there is, as already recognised, a need to reduce its impact on Market Hill and Old Market Place in the interests of enhancing its attractiveness to townspeople and tourists.
The rail connection is increasingly well used and the means of getting to and from it other than by car need to be addressed.
Housing development beyond the timescale of this Local Plan needs serious consideration. Will this be the point when the continuous expansion of the town is no longer sustainable?
The importance of good housing design needs to be accepted at this early stage. Recent developments are of a poor quality and must in future pay more regard to the Suffolk Design Guide and complement the town’s fine historic character rather than diminish it.
The merits of the proposals in the Babergh Local Plan Alteration no 2 (2006) particularly Chapter 9 Transport and Chapter 10 Sudbury Town should be recognised and they should be incorporated where still applicable.
The Sudbury Society
9 November 2017