West Suffolk MP explores draft Haverhill masterplan

Matthew Hancock MP with Sarah Howard ANL-150623-140824001
Matthew Hancock MP with Sarah Howard ANL-150623-140824001

West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock met with ONE Haverhill Chairman Sarah Howard to discuss the draft Haverhill Town Centre Masterplan Consultation on Friday (19).

The MP visited Haverhill to find out more about the suggestions made by independent planning experts for the town centre and about the public consultation.

On Saturday (20 June) the first of many public engagement events to raise awareness of the draft masterplan and give members of the public a chance to ask questions and give their views took place at Haverhill Arts Centre.

Mr Hancock said: “Everyone knows that Haverhill town centre needs a boost.

“As the town grows we have the chance to get this right. The draft Haverhill Town Centre Masterplan is an important vision to significantly improve the town centre and move Haverhill forward.

“I urge everyone to take a look and feedback their views. I like this plan but what really matters is that everyone’s views are listened to.”

Sarah Howard MBE, Chairman of ONE Haverhill Board, said: “I was delighted that our local MP had taken the trouble to visit the town and talk through the draft Haverhill Town Centre Masterplan. He had obviously read the document thoroughly and had given it a lot of thought.

“He was very supportive of our plans, keen for change in the town centre and wanted to help support ONE Haverhill in raising awareness of how people can take part in the consultation. 

“This really is a chance to change things in our town and the town centre masterplan when finalized will set the vision for what members of the public want in their town centre. I urge everyone to read it and take part.”

The plan includes a strategy for the town centre concentrating on four interconnected town centre quarters which include mixed use development opportunities supported by a public realm framework which aims to make the town centre straightforward to get around.

The draft plan includes a vision for more shops, cafes and restaurants, improvements to the bus interchange and physical environment of the High Street as well as new places to live, work and enjoy the town centre.

David Lock Associates, the independent planning experts who have created the plan, say the draft masterplan aims to be ‘aspirational, realistic and deliverable’, a flexible framework which can help bring development opportunities and improvements to Haverhill town centre in the short, medium and long term.

Members of the public have until Friday, July 17 to read the draft masterplan and give their views at www.onehaverhill.co.uk. Paper copies of the draft masterplan and questionnaires will be available at public locations in the town including the library, Haverhill House and Haverhill Arts Centre.

A number of consultation events have been planned:

Saturday, June 27 – Town Centre Masterplan information stand at Castle Manor Community Extravaganza on the Recreation Ground from 10am to 4pm

Monday, June 29 - Monday Morning Club (Leiston Centre) from 10am to 11am; Sanofi staff canteen from 11.30am to 2pm

Thursday, July 2 - Town Centre Masterplan Bus will be on Market Square from 10am to 5pm

Friday, July 3 - Town Centre Masterplan Bus will be on Market Square from 10am to 5pm; Befriending Scheme (Chalkstone Community Centre) at 10.30am

Saturday, July 4 - Town Centre Masterplan Bus will be on Market Square from 10am to 5pm

Wednesday, July 8 - Wednesday for Women (Leiston Centre) at 10.30am; Tesco foyer from 11.30am to 2pm

Saturday, July 11 - Haverhill Leisure Centre coffee shop from 9am to 1pm

Tuesday, July 14 - Samuel Ward Academy canteen at 12 noon

Previously, St Edmundsbury Borough Council has led the consultation on Haverhill’s town centre master plan but this time it has asked ONE Haverhill, an independent partnership that brings organisations and resources together in the town, to deliver the consultation guided by independent experienced planning experts. I

t is believed to be the first time a local authority has asked a community organisation within a town to lead on such a consultation.

The aim is to have the masterplan completed in September and it will provide a more detailed framework specifically covering the town centre that will build upon the strategy in Haverhill Vision 2031.

It is being prepared as a formal ‘supplementary planning document’ with the aim of it also being adopted by St Edmundsbury Borough Council.