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Concerns raised in town consultation

PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:32 01 August 2010

THE chairman behind Halesworth's town plan has praised the positive response of town residents and highlighted some key concerns that have arisen.

The consultation exercise was held at the Rifle Hall two weeks ago, where the initial ideas for the town plan were on display.

THE chairman behind Halesworth's town plan has praised the positive response of town residents and highlighted some key concerns that have arisen.

The consultation exercise was held at the Rifle Hall two weeks ago, where the initial ideas for the town plan were on display.

The idea of the town plan is to provide people with a chance to take an active role in the future of Halesworth, by setting out local requirements in advance rather than reacting to proposals when they arise.

Richard Woolnough, chairman of the group spearheading the town plan said there had been a tremendous response.

Mr Woolnough said: “There was a lot of community interest in the way the town is going. We've got a real momentum going, it's very encouraging. There are lots of problems, but there are lots of people who want to do something about it.”

The responses are still being analyzed, however Mr Woolnough said there were a number of key issues already coming to the surface.

He said that people are concerned about changes to the bus timetable, particularly in relation to the loss of the through bus to Lowestoft.

Residents are also concerned about the lack of a community centre in the town, and are worried about the future of the hospital.

Another key concern was the aging population in Halesworth, with people stating they would like to see more affordable housing to attract young families. “We're becoming an old age pensioner commune,” he said. “With the closure of the middle school, it's a concern that we're going to become unbalanced.”

The future of the middle school site was also an issue, along with the future of the town centre, which has been the target of a planning application from Tesco. “A lot of people want to see the town centre redeveloped, but not with a whacking great supermarket in it,” he said.

Mr Woolnough said he was hoping to publish an initial report in a month's time, which will detail the findings and suggest a plan of action.

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