Bury’s Guildhall is hosting open-day sessions for the public to show future plans
The Guildhall in Bury St Edmunds will open its doors to the public later this month, to give a sneak preview of what it will look like when it re-opens as aheritage centre.
The open-day sessions will be held during the Christmas Fayre weekend, from November 23-26, from 12pm to 4pm each day.
Visitors will be given the chance to meet the team behind the project and see some of the works that are already underway.
The building, which is Britain’s oldest continually used civic building, will be transformed into a new heritage centre, scheduled to open next year.
It will be used to host art exhibitions, music and theatre workshops and will also be available as a wedding venue and teaching resource.
A sensory garden will also be installed and used for summer events and evening performances.
James Mellish, project manager for the Bury St EdmundsHeritage Trust, which is running the project, said: “We are very excited about this new visitor attraction, so excited in fact that we want to open the doors early and show people some of what is coming.”
The Guildhall project is supported by St Edmundsbury Borough Council which has, in its current and previous guises, managed the building since 1894.
A Cabinet meeting will be held next Tuesday, where councillors will be asked to approve an application to the Charity Commission to transfer that role to the Heritage Trust.
Councillor Joanna Rayner said: “The Guildhall has a wonderful history as one of the oldest buildings in the town and I can’t wait to have a glimpse at the vision that is taking shape there.”
The project is currently £220,000 short of its £1.79 million target. You can donate, volunteer and find out more about it at burystedmundsguildhall.org.uk.
It is now only a fortnight until the Christmas Fayre, which will see demonstrations from award-winning chefs of how to make festive foods as well as 14 local food and drinks stalls.
It will also have a range of over 300 trade stalls selling gifts, crafts and global produce and live music and entertainment to get you in the Christmas spirit.
In the interests of safety, bollard and barrier systems will be put in place and uniformed police, both armed and unarmed, plain clothed patrols and police dogs will also be on site.
Councillor John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough, said: “While there is no evidence of any specific threat, like any other large events across the UK, you may see a range of physical security measures at this year’s Christmas Fayre as a precaution.
“Some of our measures have also been designed and integrated as part of our street furniture to belnd into the aesthetics of our beautiful town, so they may not be apparent but they are there.”