An assurance has been given that all comments and submissions made in respect of the Haverhill part of the borough council’s Vision 2031 document will be taken into account by the Secretary of State.
The assurance was given by Cllr Terry Clements, St Edmundsbury Council’s cabinet member for planning and regulation at its full council meeting on Monday (September 30).
At the meeting councillors voted in favour of sending the Vision framework to the Secretary of State, who will consider its content before a Planning Inspector holds a public inquiry at a later stage - only after that will the final, detailed masterplan be approved.
After hearing a number of councillors and members of the public raise concerns over some of the draft statement’s contents, Cllr Clements said: “These comments have been put forward and they will be considered by the inspector, including the ten page document put forward by Haverhill Town Council.”
Cllr Maureen Byrne had earlier asked: “What guarantees have we got that it will eventually move on to where someone will make that decision where the aims and conditions of the Haverhill residents will be taken seriously andf not just put to one side.”
Earlier in the meeting Cllr Clements had fielded a number of questions about the current content of the Vision framework from various members of the Haverhill community.
One of them, Roman Way resident Ian Johnson asked why more country parkland was not included for Haverhill, arguing that once Haverhill’s population reaches the level that Bury had in 2001 it would have less green space per member of the population than Bury has.
Cllr Clements said he believed there was one hectare of open space per 290 people in Haverhill compared to one hectare per 325 people in Bury St Edmunds and
He added: “Based on the projected population growth of just over 9,000, the development proposed in the Concept Statement would provide one hectare per 195 people, representing a significant improvement in provision over the already generous provision.”
Haverhill town clerk, Will Austin, asked what justification the borough council had for the Vision document stating that the reopening of a train line form Cambridge to Haverhill was not justified.
Cllr Clements said that only a small piece of the railway line would be in the borough’s area and most would be under the jurisdiction of Cambridgeshire County Council.
He added: “The draft Transport Strategy has been prepared by Cambridgeshire County Council and it is for them to consider the potential delivery of the project, should they decide to support the construction of a new railway line in their county.”
Haverhill town councillor and Mayor, Roger Andre, asked: “The document does not give sufficient weight to the need for major improvements to Haverhill’s infrastructure to cater for the current population of 27,000, and for an estimated rise of 10,000 over the period to 2031?”
Cllr Clements replied: “Should the council this evening decide to submit the Vision document to the Secretary of State then the planning inspector will need to consider the submission and, where necessary, council responses will be prepared and submitted to the planning inspector at the time of the examination of the Vision documents.
“However, I remain satisfied that nothing stated in the town council’s representation should prevent the council from submitting the Vision document to the Secretary of State in order that it can be examined by a planning inspector.”