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Council well versed in how to kill town

How to kill off a town, you may ask? It would seem that Babergh District Council knows several ways to commit this crime.

These elected politicians continuously ignore the wishes of residents, who have common sense and a will to develop services for the common good.

Having lived through promises of Belle Vue development at a snail’s pace, we now have the introduction of paid parking accelerated on us under the guise of savings.

We should be promoting our town, not reducing its accessibility to car drivers, who are continually depicted as the scourge of the population, yet the absence of any decent local public transport forces many of us into cars.

Living in the centre of town, I don’t need parking, but the town does and I don’t mind paying for it.

The council would have us believe that one of the benefits delivered by paid-for parking would be a rise in walking, cycling and other methods of green travel, but try telling that to the elderly, or those people who have no choice but to use a car as a means of conducting their shopping.

It would merely result in more town centre streets becoming congested with cars, and will undoubtedly boost footfall for out-of-town supermarkets, which are already benefiting from being able to sell items other than food and essential supplies when their smaller, independent competitors are forced to close.

At the same time, we are supposed to be pleased by the district council’s pledge to keep its share of council tax at under £3 (£2.96), but I say increase it by the few pence required in order to pay the parking subsidy.

We have spent many years being subjected to “efficiency savings” and a loss of services. Politicians should be proud to promote our towns and choose a rise commensurate with the times in which we live.

I also understand the council is planning to stop funding the Citizens Advice Service. This would be such a loss for so many residents in need at this time.

The slow death of our town is accelerating.

Lyn Gray

Cross Street

Sudbury

Time to put a stop to ridiculous proposal

I write regarding the plans to introduce short-stay car parking charges in Sudbury. Firstly, I simply cannot imagine a worse time to be considering this.

After Covid restrictions, businesses are understandably struggling and these charges will only exacerbate the issues facing our high street traders.

This plan is a short-sighted money grab and it’s important to consider the wider impact to the local economy, businesses and jobs.

Free parking for three hours is the one big advantage we have over other towns in the area and many people, particularly those in the villages, will go elsewhere if charges are introduced. This will mean less business, jobs and tax for the council itself.

I understand the environmental arguments for cutting down on people using cars (although, interestingly, this is not one the council proffered when it supported plans for a bypass), but it is not doing anything to encourage alternative transport.

Bus routes have been cut, with the bus station still in a state of dilapidation with the waste land and horrific toilets.

We have few safe cycling routes and, although a start has been made on encouraging electric cars, indeed I have one, it isn’t yet accessible for everyone.

This will also affect residents who live close to the town and commuters, many of whom earn close to the minimum wage. It will have a relatively small impact on Cross Street air pollution.

It is all very well saying it will raise extra money to invest in Sudbury but, to be frank, we have been offered much over the last decade and seen little delivered. So let’s see some investment in the town first. Let’s give people more reason to come here before even thinking about charging to park.

Lastly, John Ward, as council leader, promised before the last election not to introduce these charges. Indeed, he accused me of electioneering when I said this was precisely his plan.

He has no democratic mandate to do this and trust between local politicians and the community is important. I hope he will be a man of his word. Those who protested in Hadleigh were wrong to turn up at his house, but residents are clearly frustrated.

So, let’s put a stop to this ridiculous plan and support our local economy, businesses and jobs.

At the very least, the council should talk to local businesses, workers and residents to see how important free short-stay car parking is to our town.

Please listen and do what is right.

Luke Cresswell

Borehamgate

Sudbury

Plan sounds death knell for our town

So the final consultation for the Sudbury Market Hill redevelopment scheme has ended and I fear it will now be pushed forward to fruition.

The proposed scheme will bring to a sad end more than 200 years of Sudbury having a busy, bustling and thriving market place at its heart. In its place, we will have a new heritage square which will spend much of the year standing empty.

The Covid safety restrictions have given us a taste of what is to come, kept in place despite the pleas and protests of shops and businesses. I bet the councils will see to it that Market Hill never reopens.

The final scheme removes all the short-stay parking in the town centre and leaves inadequate loading facilities.

Of course, the techies, consultants and planners will tell us that retail and shopping is dead and town centres need to be repurposed, but people love shopping and will continue to do so.

Shops will only be viable if rents fall and they will, once we reach coffee shop and charity shop saturation point.

Market Hill does need rejuvenating, with wider pavements and a better pedestrian/vehicle interface. A drive up to Swaffham, a comparable market town, shows clearly how it can be done and there are few empty shops there.

This scheme will result in nothing more than the death of our town.

Tim West

Gainsborough Street

Sudbury

Level of service is just not acceptable

I see the problems regarding the future of Belle Vue House, the park and the old swimming pool site are still dominating the local news agenda.

Surely Babergh District Council could have had this issue sorted by now?

On top of this, the council is taking steps to withdraw our local advice centre, which is an incredible asset to the town. Quite frankly, the level of service from our district authority is simply not acceptable.

If we were to add all the other failures to the list, and the immense waste of public revenue caused by those failures, then we would reveal a very dismal picture of the present council and its leadership team.

If these members can’t get things right and feel they can ride roughshod over the people of the town, then perhaps they should stand down?

I also notice that trees are suggested in the proposed improvements to Market Hill. That’s lovely, we all like trees, but given the fact that the council can’t even manage the existing green areas around the town, how does it intend to maintain more?

Sorry Babergh, but you are, in your present form, simply not up to the job.

Bob Darvell

Orchard Place

Sudbury

Footfall will simply move elsewhere

Today, Babergh District Council will decide if charges for short-stay parking are to be levied from July.

A rising scale is proposed for each hour beyond the somewhat parsimonious, half-hour free period.

I expect the financial planners will have factored in a further uplift to the scale of charges in order to counter the inevitable fall in business rate take that will be engendered when footfall decreases in the town and moves elsewhere.

Out-of-town retailers and the online business world will no doubt be following these deliberations with interest.

James Woodard

Clarence Road

Sudbury

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