In an age of online shopping, how do you ensure that a town centre, named just a year ago as one of Britain’s top five high streets, continues to be relevant and interesting for decades to come?
That is the challenge that residents, community associations, special interest groups, students and businesses in and around Bury St Edmunds, will be asked to help tackle as part of a public consultation in spring 2017.
Aim of the masterplan
To set guidelines for the future growth and development of Bury St Edmunds town centre and to provide the framework for individual development proposals to be assessed when they come forward.
What else will the masterplan address:
- town centre uses (including retail and leisure)
- opportunities for mixed use development
- town centre traffic management, including car parking and sustainable travel options
- heritage conservation and the quality of the environment
- art and the public realm
- accessibility for all town centre users
Public consultation coming in Spring 2017
- Ambition - Bury St Edmunds has one of the best retail, culture and leisure centres in the region and continues to attract people from across Suffolk and neighbouring counties. Our ambition is for our town to continue to be vibrant and prosperous, especially as other centres are looking to increase their offer - so we need to start planning for the future.
- People - West Suffolk is a desirable place in which to live and Bury St Edmunds will grow by at least another 5740 homes between 2012 and 2031, meeting the various demands for homes, including affordable housing. We need to look to 2031 and beyond to make sure we have the right mix of town centre, culture and leisure, not just to meet demand for our own increasing number of residents, but also to continue supporting the local economy by promoting Bury St Edmunds as a visitor destination and boosting visitor spend.
- Future investment - We know that there are current pinch points to the parking and roads infrastructure; a new masterplan gives us the opportunity to tackle these issues, plan for future growth and ensure that the town centre is accessible for people with a range of different needs. We will work with our partners to make it simple and convenient for everybody to walk, cycle, catch the bus or the train and use a mobility scooter. We also recognise that there is limited vehicle capacity in the historic streets of the town centre.
- Track record – Twelve years ago St Edmundsbury Borough Council drove forward plans for the arc development, which included investing in The Apex. Despite opening during the recession in 2009, the arc has been a huge success story, adding modern architecture to the town’s heritage and playing a major role in the vibrancy of the town which has a shop vacancy rate of 7% compared to a national average of 8.7% (data correct as at September 2016).
St Edmundsbury Borough Council also led on the project to establish a Business Improvement District (BID) for the town. Amongst other things, the BID – Ourburystedmunds - now runs a series of popular town centre events, all designed to increase footfall and spend in the town. All of this has established the town’s strong market position and has seen it win various accolades including being named as one of Britain’s top five high streets (East Anglian Daily Times, October 2015).
Facts and figures for Bury St Edmunds
5,740 new homes in Bury St Edmunds planned for the period from 2012 to 2031.
13,776 more people by 2031 – this is based on an average occupancy of 2.4 people per household. The population in the 2011 census for Bury was 41,113.
13,000 new jobs across St Edmundsbury from 2010-2031. Most of this growth is centred on Bury St Edmunds with the growth of the town centre and the extension of Suffolk Business Park.