In Memoriam: Stephen Thorpe

It is with great sadness that we note the death last month of Stephen Thorpe, stalwart of the Society for many years with special interest in planning issues and an active campaigner for our town. We offer the sincerest condolences to his family, Pat and Rebecca, on their huge loss.
Here are some reflections on Stephen from fellow Society member, Robin Drury:

“I had known and worked with Stephen for many years. He helped me to re-invent The Granary, in Walnuttree Lane and the resulting professional friendship brought us together in a shared passion for the town we lived in.

Stephen was so enthusiastic for the built environment of Sudbury. He saw the Market Hill in particular as such a wonderful urban space that with a few planning development tweaks could be made so much better.

I remember the two of us, one morning, tramping around the town centre and having the discussion about how unco-ordinated our local authorities were in making planning decisions that joined up all the essential assets that made up the core of the town –
The Market Hill, North Street, the Bus Station, The Water Meadows and Belle Vue Park and roundabout. How, perhaps with an over arching plan, Sudbury’s ambience could be so much better.
That morning walk resulted in us collaborating to produce our own plans, with Stephen resolutely sinking a great deal of his professional time into plotting and drawing up concepts for the whole of the town centre. An enormous undertaking that would normally take local authority departments and consultants years to achieve, and who knows at what cost to the tax payer!
On the strength of Steve’s concepts and a little financial help from the Sudbury Society we produced a document ’Sudbury in 21C’ – a synopsis of our joint ideas. The two of us did a presentation to the town council and then did the same at a public meeting of 100+ in the Granary, Quay Lane. We took our audience by storm! The document was seen as a blueprint for what people really wanted for their town.
That was back in 1998. Since then Stephen and I have struggled to keep the planners on track. Much of what we conceived has now been written into Sudbury Town Council’s official document on how it see’s the future of the town centre. Babergh have also embraced much of it into ’Sudbury’s Vision for Prosperity’ project, which is fast evolving.
Unfortunately Stephen would never see any of this come to fruition but maybe, just maybe, his passion and vision will eventually bring about the changes for good in Sudbury that he always dreamed of. “
           RIP Stephen Thorpe