AN EAGERLY awaited town centre pub has officially opened following a multi million pound revamp of a historic building.
Cutting the ribbon to unveil Bury St Edmunds’ new Wetherspoon, Tim Marks, the mayor of St Edmundsbury, said the venue had ‘breathed new life’ into the Corn Exchange.
Pub giant J D Wetherspoon has ploughed £1.6 million into developing the Grade II listed building - preserving and accentuating its original features while adding some modern flourishes.
Unit manager Craig Uttley said: “I’m extremely excited and pleased that we’re finally open.”
The first customer through the door was 62-year-old John Fulcher, who said: “It looks absolutely fabulous. I wanted to try it out because my brother is a great Wetherspoon fan. I wanted to have my picture taken eating my breakfast and drinking my beer to send it to him.”
The mayor’s opening of the pub, which retains the Corn Exchange name, carries echoes of the venue’s origins. One of his predecessors laid the first brick of the building on June 18, 1861.
In his opening speech, Cllr Marks said: “It really is breathing new life into a building which was beginning to die. It really is a splendid fit out.”
Concerns had been raised previously by resident groups about the potential for excess noise and anti-social behaviour as a result of the pub.
Andrew Hinchley, chairman of the Churchgate Area Association, said: “They did offer to meet us on a regular basis and that’s the route we will take if we find good reason to do so.”
Alan Jary, chairman of Bury Society, added: “We’re a little concerned because the alcohol is very reasonably priced. It’s only from excess that you get problems.”
Asked about the concerns, Mr Uttley added: “We’ve got a team of the highest standard and these standards will be upheld throughout so they don’t have to worry.”