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Post office development construction likely to start next spring in Bury St Edmunds

Construction work on a key Bury St Edmunds site is likely to start in the spring, West Suffolk Council has announced.

The council is investing in the multi-million redevelopment of 17-18 Cornhill – the former post office – keeping the historic facade while widening Market Thoroughfare by more than 50 per cent and creating new business frontages on to St Andrew's Street South and Market Thoroughfare.

Following the decision to grant planning permission earlier today, West Suffolk Council will appoint contractors over the coming months. It is envisaged the redevelopment could be completed in late 2021.

Post office flats 17-18 Cornhill (21039720)
Post office flats 17-18 Cornhill (21039720)

The redevelopment of the former post office site includes two ground floor business units with 12 flats above.

St Andrew's Street South was identified in the masterplan as in need of major improvements to help the old and new parts of the town centre feel more coherent as one place. A new shopfront, curving into Market Thoroughfare, could reinvigorate the street and encourage other landowners and investors to see the potential for what could be achieved.

Improving Market Thoroughfare is a long-held council ambition. It will now be widened by more than 50 per cent, taking it from 2.4m wide to 3.8m.

The Cornhill facade, which lies within the conservation area, will be enhanced through the removal of a step to improve access and the creation of a second arch to acknowledge the historic Bell Arcade and serve the wider Market Thoroughfare.

Cllr John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “This is a major investment and it’s an important one as we work to ensure the continuing success of Bury town centre as a place to work, live, visit and enjoy its many social and leisure activities.

"It demonstrates the council’s commitment and leadership role and is also designed to encourage others to invest in their own buildings, acting as a catalyst to reinvigorate and preserve our heritage in this part of the town centre.

"Not only will this investment improve Market Thoroughfare and St Andrew's Street South and help drive benefits for the wider town centre economy, but it is a break-even scheme which means there should be no burden on the taxpayer.”

Cllr Susan Glossop, cabinet member for growth, said: “This is an exciting project not least because it has helped us deliver on some of the things that the public asked for in the 8,000 comments we received while shaping the town centre masterplan.

"I am looking forward to seeing the drawings become reality.”

As part of the preparation for the building work, Market Thoroughfare will be closed from November 11 to November 13 to allow for investigation works on behalf of Barnes Construction.

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