Better health provision, transport links, school places and water and sewerage capacity are all needed in Haverhill if the proposed developments are to go ahead, an inquiry was told.
The public inquiry into St Edmundsbury Council’s Vision 2031 documents which detail how Haverhill should develop over the next 20 years, held at Haverhill Leisure Centre last Wednesday (February 5), heard how the town is already short on amenities.
Town clerk Will Austin said: “You have to wait three weeks for a routine doctor’s appointment and I’ve never lived anywhere before where you have to wait three days.
“There are no direct links to West Suffolk Hospital and the ambulance response times are lower than the regional average which is lower than the national average.
“We lost our walk in centre in July 2012 and with it £1.2 million and there has been no new investment in Haverhill since then. “We also need more further education in Haverhill as we have students who need to travel to Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds.
“The town centre has not expanded for 50 years.
“I have a number of concerns on water and sewerage and you only have to walk through the town during heavy rain to see the drainage comes up through the pavement in certain areas such as Queen Street.”
Robert Green added: “The sewerage situation has been this way for a long time and will it cope with the extra housing?
“When I first came here there was a single doctor who wouldn’t take appointments as you’d just walk in and see him, but now you wait three weeks for an appointment if you’re lucky and it won’t be the same person again.
“If you need further care you have to go to Addenbrooke’s or West Suffolk Hospital which isn’t easy when you’re not well.
“Haverhill Health Centre has been built and appears to do not a lot and we have no minor injuries centre.”
Inspector Roger Clews said that any developer funding could only be used to resolve future problems caused by the development, not existing ones.
Keith Bunting said that half of Little Thurlow Primary School’s students are from Haverhill.
Chris Rand from the borough council said they are working with the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (which replaced NHS Suffolk) to provide better access to Addenbrooke’s and West Suffolk Hospital.
He also acknowledged the need for a second cemetery.
It was stated that the empty Wisdom site would be earmarked for a further education establishment, but the document was modified so that if none came forward it could be used for business instead.
Mr Austin said: “The town council agrees with this further education site which is ideally placed and wouldn’t want to lose it.”
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (February 13) Echo.