Revamp of fire-ravaged Cupola House in Bury due to be completed in late spring

Cupola House, in The Traverse, Bury St Edmunds
Pictured on Monday, February 22 ANL-160222-133339001
Cupola House, in The Traverse, Bury St Edmunds Pictured on Monday, February 22 ANL-160222-133339001

The revamp of Cupola House in Bury St Edmunds is due to be completed in late spring - four years after the devastating blaze which nearly destroyed it.

The restoration of the Grade I listed building, in The Traverse, was supposed to have finished last August but was delayed due to technical issues.

Strada fire.    Gone - the observatory had just fallen. ENGANL00120120619153921

Strada fire. Gone - the observatory had just fallen. ENGANL00120120619153921

Architects Purcell say progress continues on the work and it is now due for completion in late spring.

Mark Cordell, chief executive of town centre improvement organisation Ourburystedmunds, welcomed the progress.

However, he raised concerns about the continued impact on traders, in The Traverse, where large scaffolding around Cupola House has deterred shoppers.

He said: “I’m very pleased but myself and the local traders are still extremely frustrated that it will be four years since the fire before the street returns to its former state.

Strada Fire - Taken on Monday 18th June ENGANL00120120618164940

Strada Fire - Taken on Monday 18th June ENGANL00120120618164940

“During that time about eight independent businesses ceased trading, which the impact of the fire and rebuilding are undoubtedly contributory factors. Having said that, I’m delighted the street is now fully occupied with no empty units and look forward to the day the scaffolding is removed and the street can return to being a bustling thoroughfare that connects Abbeygate Street and the Cornhill.”

In an update on Cupola House, Simon Marks, associate at Purcell, said inside the building the reconstruction of the timber panelled wall linings is underway and redecorating has started.

The interiors will be finished in a ‘top down’ approach and the third floor and cupola are nearly complete.

Outside, the roof tiling is nearly finished and the ‘high level cornice’, which is a decorative feature, has been restored incorporating sections that survived the fire.

Cupola House pictured in 1998

Cupola House pictured in 1998

The lime rendering work on the walls has had to slow down due to the cold weather because it won’t set at temperatures below 5C. Mr Marks said: “As a result, external rendering works are still underway and redecoration of the exterior walls cannot start. Once the redecoration is complete the external scaffolding will be removed.”

At the time of the fire in 2012, Cupola House was occupied by Strada restaurant. The blaze started after a cook inadvertently fanned flames into the restaurant’s ventilation system when using a fire blanket.