May 21 2013 Latest news:
By Laurence Cawley
Saturday, April 28, 2012
A TOWN-wide petition is to be set up calling on a council to halt controversial housing plans, which would see the number of homes in Bury St Edmunds rocket by 31% in the next 20 years.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council is currently consulting on its Vision 2031, which sets out how 5,900 new homes could be accommodated in the town.
Proposals include a 900-home plot between the Howard estate in Bury and Fornham All Saints, 500 homes at Moreton Hall, 450 between Bury and Westley, 1,250 between Bury and Great Barton and 1,250 to the south-east of the town.
The authority says the housing is needed to meet population growth and says the proposed rate of growth is 513 a year, less than during the past five years.
But critics say if the town had grown by 513 since at least the time when the barons are thought to have met in the town to propose the Magna Carta, it would now be a similar size to Birmingham, with 409,000 homes.
They claim the town neither needs all the new homes, nor has the infratsructure to support them.
Mark Ereira, who organised the ‘Our Place’ housing summit along with Trevor Beckwith, said: “The meeting took our breath away with strength of feeling.
“The main outcome was a call for a town-wide petition to include immediately surrounding and impacted villages.
“We want the council to review the total number of houses to be built between now and 2013.”
Jim Sweetman, of the Westley Save the Village Campaign and Westley Parish Council, said: “People are very cheesed off. This is probably the last generation which will say it is okay to build on greenfield sites.”
He said Bury did not have the infrastructure – which includes the road system – to accommodate the proposed new homes.
A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury said: “Vision 2031 will help us to ensure the infrastructure is provided. But developers need to build some homes, make some money, before everything can be provided.
“A new scheme, the Community Infrastructure Levy, will require the builders of all new homes to contribute towards the infrastructure required by them.
“The Core Strategy sets out a general requirement for a mix of homes based on the localities needs. There is also a need for 30% of new homes to be affordable homes, for those that cannot afford market-price homes.
“The developers of the large sites around the town are working with us, the county council and the Highways Agency (who look after the A14) to agree what measures they, the developers, will need to put in place to accommodate the growth in trips. This assessment will need to be complete before we can consider planning applications for the development.”