SCAFFOLDING around the fire-ravaged Cupola House in Bury St Edmunds has been slimlined in a bid to minimise its impact on shops.
It is now three months since the fire, which started in the basement of the restaurant, and which caused large amounts of the 17th century building to collapse.
The grade II listed building was being used as a restaurant by Strada – 120 people had to be evacuated after the fire broke out in the kitchen.
Since then, heavy duty scaffolding has been put up to make sure no more of the building collapses out on to the street – but that, in turn, had impacted on other local traders.
Now changes have been made to open up part of the scaffolding at ground level.
A St Edmundsbury Borough Council spokeswoman said the changes, made on Thursday, would remain in place until the rebuilding work was nearly complete, with Alan Jary, chairman of the Bury Society, estimating this could take as long as five years.
“The scaffolding will remain in place almost until the end of project to reinstate the building and minimising its impact on the public and on Traverse businesses is a priority,” the spokeswoman said.
“The engineers have reconfigured the design, opening up lit walkways at ground level and restoring the line of sight along the full length of the Traverse.”
She added that the scaffolding had also been reconfigured at the back of the building in Skinner Street to provide fire escapes and access for emergency services.
Conservation officers are working to cut the time it takes for the rebuild to get planning permission.
“It is not possible to give a time table, but the council’s objective remains to work for as full and as swift a reinstatement as possible of Cupola House,” the spokeswoman added.