Stowmarket “Vision” cannot see much on travel and transport

10 June 2018

Town needs connections and support from surrounding villages


Green Party councillors have welcomed Mid Suffolk District Council (MSDC) planning work for Stowmarket, but while hoping the town can build on its culture and leisure aspects, they see Stowmarket as essentially local, needing to embrace its hinterland villages rather than again spending on grandiose regeneration and ill-conceived branding initiatives.

They are calling for much more emphasis on sustainable travel as MSDC publishes its response to the recent consultation on town planning for the years ahead.

“We need to link up and draw the villages into Stowmarket, while easing the traffic gridlock,”

said Green Group leader Rachel Eburne.

“That means bus services and more safe cycle routes to nearby settlements, where now people have to rely on cars.”

Weakest aspect is the dismissal of a bus service for the town, with the assertion that Stowmarket is “too small” for it to be viable, when many smaller towns around Britain have a service for their centre and suburbs.

“The service introduced a few years ago was never promoted, so few people knew where or when it ran,”

said Councillor John Matthissen.

“The County Council has a duty as the Transport Authority to encourage and support greater bus use, and it has failed the town.”

“With Government and health organisations all urging cleaner air and more exercise, you would hope the Vision would have plenty to say about improving conditions for pedestrians and cyclists,”

said Town Councillor Miles Row.

In fact Suffolk County Council appears to have no budget at all to improve cycle routes anywhere in Suffolk. And locally they have never even managed to complete National Cycle Route 51 through the town.

Train passengers fare no better, as there is no mention in the Vision of the intention of Greater Anglia to improve access between the platforms at Stowmarket station, and no plan to improve pedestrian safety, despite the serious injury to a passenger crossing the car park.

“"The council has stated priorities to promote better quality places to live and healthier lifestyles and they should put this into practice with joined up sustainable travel into and out of our key local town."”

concluded Councillor Eburne

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