Thousands flock to take a first look at The Apex

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THOUSANDS of visitors poured through the doors of The Apex during its opening weekend.

The multi-purpose public venue hosted a preview on Thursday, BurySOUND on Friday, a public open weekend on Saturday and Sunday and the Fat Cat Comedy Club on Sunday night.

Invited guests who gathered at the venue on Thursday were treated to performances from The Voice Squad and County Upper School musicians.

Tony White, of Hopkins Architects, said: “I’ve spent eight years or so working on the whole scheme. The Apex is the heart of the whole shopping centre – it is the thing that finishes it off.”

He said, of the whole project, he was most pleased with the ‘fantastic’ auditorium.

Taking to the stage, Voice Squad leader Birgitta Kenyon likened The Apex to an ‘amazing London venue’.

John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “Everybody seems to think it is a spectacular building fit for a spectacular town like Bury.

“The whole point of The Apex is that it is for the whole community and for all ages. The limit to this building is our imagination.”

Nick Wells, festival and entertainments manager, said: “I’m excited to see a range of acts on stage and people enjoying themselves here.”

Venues director Tony Doherty aid visitors had been impressed by the auditorium space and its moveable floor.

BurySOUND was the building’s first official event, with more than 300 young people attending, while 435 people went to the Fat Cat Comedy Club on Sunday, contributing to the opening weekend’s 4,000 visitors.

But this week, two readers contacted the Bury Free Press with concerns over the building. One was horrified after his father had great trouble exiting the internal lift in his mobility scooter, being forced to do a ‘20-point turn’ as the lift doors repeatedly tried to shut on him. Another reader said external paving to the front of the foyer was being replaced, after it was found to be causing flooding.

A spokesman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council said the opening season was designed to help it to ‘fine tune’ the building and uncover snags.

“Mobility vehicles come in many shapes and sizes and while we review the issues around bigger vehicles and the availability of wheelchairs, staff will continue to be on hand to offer assistance,” she said.

Regarding the paving, she said heavy rain had highlighted a drainage problem which meant water rose over the barrier intended to keep it out. The fault was being corrected by the contractors at their cost.

n BurySOUND report and pictures – see Page 116.