Haverhill councillors want to be ‘kept in the loop’ over town masterplan

Planning news.
Planning news.

Councillors are calling for greater transparency over the progress of the Haverhill Town Centre Masterplan adopted in September 2015.

Cllr Tony Brown, who represents Haverhill East on St Edmundsbury Borough Council, requested updates on Haverhill’s town centre masterplan and North West Relief Road to be considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, of which he is a member.

“Scrutiny’s a very good way of holding the council’s feet to the fire,” said Cllr Brown who was concerned people in Haverhill had put a lot of effort into contributing to the masterplan but had heard little about what had been happening since.

“I know a lot of what’s been going in the background is commercially sensitive but it’s really just to make sure things are going on and to find out as much as we can about the process,” he said.

A report to scrutiny, which was due to meet yesterday, stated that ‘frustration at the apparent slow pace of delivery’ was among the key issues and challenges facing implementation of the masterplan.

It said: “The challenge for us is to manage expectations and explain that we will not/cannot achieve the masterplan’s aims overnight; nor will the market let us.”

Cllr John Burns, who represents Haverhill Cangle on the county council and Haverhill East on the borough and town councils, said members wanted to know what could be revealed in a public forum.

He said: “Primarily the town centre masterplan is being handled by One Haverhill and the trouble is, even though they have public meetings, a lot of what they’re doing is confidential at the moment.”

Cllr Brown said they were also ‘fighting hard’ to get the ‘critical’ relief road built as quickly as possible despite the current deal thrashed out which requires it to be completed within five years of the start of the North West development.