Bury St Edmunds Priors Estate residents feel they have been 'forgotten'
Worried residents are hoping to form an action group to clean up what they have dubbed: the forgotten estate.
On Monday, around a dozen residents met at Bridge Community Church, in Queen’s Road, to discuss problems at the Priors Estate, in Bury St Edmunds.
The residents listed issues including littering, parking issues, overgrown vegetation, a lack of road sweeping, bins and fly tipping.
According to Pauline Thomas, who has lived on the estate for 54 years, many residents feel they have been ‘forgotten’.
The former teaching assistant said: “It has been getting worse for some time – but the turning point for me came when I found 140 nitrous oxide bottles just lying about.
“That same day I saw a tree and overgrown bush with bags of dog mess hanging from them like Christmas decorations.
“There is generally a lot of litter, bushes and hedges are overgrown, and there is fly tipping.
The play area is always badly littered and I think we see a street cleaner about once a year.
“Drains are so blocked they flood, and in some places bushes are so overgrown you can’t walk on the pavement. People often comment what a mess the estate is.”
The Community Meet Up was arranged by Bury St Edmunds Town Councillor Donna Higgins.
Cllr Higgins met Mrs Thomas to walk around the estate in March, to see what could be done.
Cllr Higgins said: “The community has had concerns for some time.
"There is a general feeling the estate has been forgotten – and it does have an air of neglect.
“Other estates have residents’ associations which are very vocal and I thought this could be a way forward, to start.
"It does seem like there is some catching up to do."
The meeting was also supported by Bury Town, West Suffolk, and Suffolk County Councillor Robert Everitt, who also encouraged the group to set up a residents’ action group.
It was also attended by representatives from Havebury Housing Partnership, which owns and runs the majority of properties on Brockesby Walk, which runs through the centre of the estate.
Two police community support officers were also present.
A spokesperson for the Havebury Partnership said: "We are committed to creating homes and communities that people are proud to be a part of.
"We have just over three hundred homes on the Priors estate, and we work in partnership with other agencies to keep our estates looking their best.
"We also work with the police, to tackle claims of anti-social behaviour when needed.
"Two members of our team attended the resident’s meeting on Monday to discuss the plans of creating an action group, which we are keen to support.
"The maintenance of the green areas of the Priors estate is split between our grounds maintenance contractor, Idverde, and West Suffolk Council.
"However, we are aware that litter is an issue in the area."
Cllr Everitt said after the meeting that he was ‘already in the process’ of taking residents’ concerns to the authorities but did not feel the estate had been ‘forgotten’.
“Several authorities cover the estate and surrounding area and I am already taking forward some of the concerns,” he said.
“Priors Estate did have an active residents’ association but it closed down around four years ago for various reasons.
"Every area has its problems and a residents’ association or action group would help and I am happy to support this.”
PCSOs Jo Whiting and Mark Ellis were also in attendance as well as senior minister David Oakley, from Bridge Community Church, which is keen to help out by providing space for meetings.
A Suffolk Police spokesman said police were also taking action in relation to any anti-social behaviour (ASB) on the estate.
Residents said cars being set alight had been a recent problem, as well as fly-tipping.
The police spokesman said: “We are aware of anti-social behaviour on the Priors Estate and we are closely monitoring the situation with regular patrols of the area.
“Officers have also conducted an ASB leaflet drop to ensure residents understand police are aware of the issue.
"A log of the incidents has been created and is being kept updated.
“We are also assisting in supporting the creation of a residents’ association to address the problems.
"We are working closely with related partners on the issue, including outreach workers who attend the location on a regular basis, to ensure we are engaging effectively young people in the community.
“It’s important to recognise that tackling such issues is a collective effort as many organisations can play a key role and providing a suitable resolution.
“We fully appreciate the distress ASB is having on residents there and they should rest assured that, where necessary, robust action will be taken when we need to.”
Anyone interested in helping set up a residents' association should contact Cllr Donna Higgins at email@example.com
There is also a Facebook group here
A further Community Meet Up is being planned for September.
Havebury Clean-up day
Havebury Housing Partnership have arranged a clean-up day at the Priors estate on July 7, and all residents are invited.
The clean up day is being held with representatives from West Suffolk Council and Idverde will also be present on the day to talk to residents.
Any residents unable to attend the community clean-up day planned on July 7 can contact The Havebury Partnership on 0300 3300 900 and ask to speak to Lucy Adams, resident engagement officer.