Expert believes Cupola House ‘stands a chance’ of restoration

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WORK to stabilise the remaining parts of fire damaged Cupola house means it stands a chance of restoration, and English Heritage expert said today.

John Ette, team leader for English Heritage in the east and an inspector of ancient monuments, said: “there’s a fine line between total loss and what you can save. Now it’s supported [by scaffolding] it stands a chance. I hope we will try to save as much as possible.”

Mr Ette said the damage to the 17th century building was ‘very distressing’. He had sent an engineer to inspect the building immediately after the fire and then taken part in discussions to try to save as much as possible.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council leader John Griffiths, in a letter being published in the Bury Free Press on Friday, thanks those who have tried to reduce the impact of the fire on the building and the town economy and promises every effort will be made to restore the landmark.

The council said today that the debris taken out will be recorded and if it can be saved or used to make new pieces, it is being taken to storage.

Plans to bring in heavy lifting gear yesterday were dropped but parts of the building are being dismantled by hand with the help of a crane supported cage. Work had to stop until the supporting scaffolding was finished yesterday after it was found remaining supports were moving.

Skinner Street remains closed but only three businesses are still affected. Sahara has moved stock to a unit in Cornhill and is assessing its condition. Bella Lingerie says on its website that all its stock has been smoke damaged, so it has stopped online sales, but it plans to reopen after redecoration in four to six weeks. Jessops staff are working in the Ipswich and Cambridge branches until they can get back into the building and customer queries are directed to those shops.

Businesses affected by the fire are invited to contact the Bury Free Press newsdesk. We are happy to tell you customers the latest news on your situation and when you hope to reopen. Contact John Henderson at john.henderson@buryfreepress.co.uk or on 01284 757821.

The white boards carrying information about the situation, which have been near Crosdales Chemist are being moved to Moyses Hall.

The council is also trying to compile a record of people’s memories of Cupola House. Memories can be left at the Tourist Information Centre or at Moyse’s Hall, or emailed to communications@stedsnc.gov.uk or posted to The Communications Unit, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds IP33 3YU