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Multi-million pound scheme for former post office site in Bury St Edmunds is approved

The former post office site, on Cornhill, is to be redeveloped in a 'landmark project' by St Edmundsbury Borough Council
The former post office site, on Cornhill, is to be redeveloped in a 'landmark project' by St Edmundsbury Borough Council

An £8.4 million scheme to redevelop Bury St Edmunds’ former post office site and deliver on long held ambitions for a wider link to the arc shopping centre has been approved.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council agreed to transform 17-18 Cornhill, which could see the historic Victorian facade retained and the rear of the site developed into retail spaces and 12 apartments.

The Market Thoroughfare link between the town centre and arc could be widened and a new shop front facing onto St Andrew’s Street South created.

The council bought the building last year for £1.68 million and decided on Tuesday night to spend £6.72 million on the redevelopment.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Mark Cordell, who represents town centre businesses as chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, said they supported the plans, particularly the ambitions for Market Thoroughfare, which was mooted by the arc developers a decade ago but wasn’t delivered.

The Market Thoroughfare issue was also picked up by Cllr Paul Hopfensperger. He said: “I’m very excited that finally after all these years of waiting we will be able to deliver a project that the people asked for. To coin a phrase, it’s better late than never.”

Cllr David Nettleton said although he was supporting the scheme he had some concerns about how the council’s long term ambitions for the town centre masterplan would be funded given they were spending over £8 million from a £20 million pot.

Cllr Andrew Speed said while he shared enthusiasm for the project, he sought an assurance the figures ‘represent the maximum cost’.

Cllr Alaric Pugh, cabinet member for planning and growth, said it was a ‘landmark project for Bury town centre’.

After the meeting, he said the council’s new Growth Investment Strategy allowed them to ‘look at a scheme that is break even, one that no commercial investor would consider, but one where we can see the wider social and economic benefits that we can deliver for residents and businesses’.

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