Haverhill Weekly News Round Up
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The borough has still not agreed to meet town councillors to talk about their criticisms of the Vision 2031 document. Members heard this week they might have to take their protest to the eventual public inquiry on the document by a planning inspector. They wanted to avoid that because it didn’t look good if one council was having a spat at another at a public hearing. But Cllr Clive Turner, in our Quote of the week... said: “We are going into bat for our residents”. Just make sure you’re wearing your box, I’d suggest.
There’s plenty of other work due to get under way at the moment, as St Nicholas Hospice prepare to convert the Burton Centre into a much-needed outreach centre for their work in the town, while Care UK are beginning work on Cleves Place, a replacement care home for Place Court, on the site of the former Chalkstone Middle School. Meanwhile one of the town’s iconic watering holes, the Bell, has closed. Greene King confirmed they had sold the pub, the fourth one they have sold in the town in as many years. The others – the Australian Arms, the Rose Tavern and the Black Horse, have either been converted to private homes, or are in the process of conversion or redevelopment for residential purposes. The future of the Bell is still unclear. Efforts to save one of the town’s most important buildings, the old Corn Exchange next to the Rose and Crown, are moving forward. It has been place on a ‘community asset’ register, which means if anyone tries to buy it, residents will have six months to put together a bid of their own. A group led by Suffolk county councillor Tony Brown is aiming to put a business plan together for its renovation and then try to interest businesses and social enterprise groups in getting involved in the project. Long-term, they hope it might become a history and heritage centre for the town. It’s been a quiet week on the crime front, with the police reporting no serious concerns. They are appealing for witnesses after a teenager was struck on the head by a projectile, believed to have been a pellet from an air rifle. It happened around 9.10pm on Friday, November 22, along a footpath between Leiston Road and Leather Lane. The victim, a 17-year-old boy, was walking along the path when he was hit on the top of the head by an unknown object, resulting in him sustaining a small cut. It’s believed the object came from the direction of the Leiston Road shops and the victim heard the sound of a low thud, consistent with that made by an air rifle. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact PC Guy Ainsworth at Haverhill Police Station on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you have any issues for the police or any other agency concerned with the safety of the community, the next Safer Neighbourhood Team meeting is on Monday at the arts centre at 7pm. There will be a new format for putting forward issues and voting on three for police and other agencies to concentrate on over the next three months. Sport, and under-strength Haverhill Rovers had a top quality win on Saturday 2-0 at Norwich United. On Saturday they entertain Clacton at the New Croft with a 3pm kick-off. Haverhill Rugby Club had to concede Saturday’s game, at Thetford but entertain Fakenham on Saturday with a 3pm kick-off. The full Christmas spirit will no doubt be on show on Friday night, when the town celebrates its annual Family Christmas Night combining late night shopping with street entertainment and ending with the ever-popular firework finale on the Recreation Ground, all provided by the town council (good news tick for them). But St Edmundsbury are helping out a bit by providing free car parking on Saturday this week and next week. As well as the free after three scheme on Fridays, and the fact that Sundays are free anyway, means its free car parking for two successive weekends (good news tick for the borough). But Friday night is the big night. This year the Christmas Lights switch-on is being included earlier in the evening, and the last few lights have been put up in recent days all ready for the off. The lights in the street will already be on, because it’s not possible to switch everything on at once. But those on the market square and the Christmas tree will be switched on at 6.30pm by Snow White, from the arts centre’s annual pantomime. The fireworks are at 8pm. The fun starts at 5pm and if you’re driving it’s best to avoid the town centre because there will be road closures in operation.
Talking about that, town councillor Ernie Goody was urging this week that Mill Road should be widened when the new one-way system comes into operation in the new year. He described it as the ‘escape route’ but town clerk Will Austin told members no escape route would be necessary. Signage at the Clements Lane/Camps Road roundabout would ensure traffic turned either right or left there and did not progress down Camps Road. There might be a period of ‘learning’ by local motorists, and he had asked Suffolk County Council to resurface Mill Road, which will become one-way up the hill rather than down when the bit of Camps Road beside the market square becomes one-way out of town. No one mentioned any potential increase of traffic from north Haverhill via Mill Road to the industrial estate, but Mr Austin said if Mill Road did see an increase of traffic then the six-month ‘experimental’ change would clearly have failed and could be brought to an end. Both the county and town councils are keen to push ahead with the idea because they believe it will reduce traffic use of High Street dramatically. Now is that a black mark or a tick?