Local businesses were the first to learn more about St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Vision 2031, the new plan for Haverhill, at the February meeting of the bestofhaverhill. Dr Carol Rowntree, Economic Development Officer with St Edmundsbury, was the guest speaker at the event and presented an overview of the council’s strategy for Haverhill. Vision 2031 will be officially launched in Haverhill on 2nd March.
Carol spoke about the need to take a place-based, joined up view about what would happen in Haverhill over the next 20 years. The Borough is consulting on the vision for the town so that a comprehensive plan can be drawn up. The objective is to achieve a long term view that can be used as a basis for short term decisions and give direction for future investment.
The first draft of Vision 2031 is centred around ten themes, including jobs and the economy; housing and communities; crime and safety and infrastructure and services. The policies associated with these themes must be integrated if the town is to benefit from a cohesive plan in the decades ahead.
The initial consultation for Vision 2031 took place last year and identified a number of issues. Whilst acknowledging the benefits of Haverhill’s location businesses expressed concern over transport links, particularly to Cambridge and Stansted. The lack of integration between jobs and housing, with employment in the town currently located in four industrial estates/business parks and the housing in separate areas, was also highlighted as an issue.
The road links from the north-west to south-east were very good but links across the town, from the south-west to north-east were poor. Large areas of housing in Haverhill do not have a natural focus point, an important factor in creating sustainable communities. Easy access to schooling and the protection of our open spaces, which the people of Haverhill really value, were other issues raised.
The draft Vision document that has been developed addresses the issues raised and aims to implement policies which will create a 21st century town based on a strong community with an attractive retail, leisure and employment offer and sustainable transport solutions.
Elaine Carr, owner of thebestofhaverhill said, “We really appreciated the insight into the draft Vision 2031 before it is launched formally. I would encourage businesses to take part in the consultation process. This is an opportunity to have our say into how Haverhill develops. We can’t complain about what is happening, or not happening in the town, if we don’t take the time to get involved. After 2 March you can look at the proposals online and give your comments. The consultation period runs until 30th April.
With over 4000 new houses planned for Haverhill and the new Haverhill Research Park there is huge potential for the town to grow and prosper – providing we have the infrastructure in place to support the increased population. I am really happy that my business is based in Haverhill. There is a lot for business owners based here to be optimistic about.”
Photograph: Courtesy of David Doughty, The Gallery