December 8 2013 Latest news:
Monday, October 21, 2013
As business is booming at a modern shopping complex in Bury St Edmunds, plans by two restaurant chains for the old part of the town centre show this area is not being left behind.
Planning applications have confirmed Cote Restaurants and Bill’s want to open branches at 50 to 52 Abbeygate Street, which was formerly occupied for many years by Barclays Bank.
The Arc shopping centre should soon be fully occupied by retailers for the first time since it opened in March 2009, marking a massive vote of confidence in the town.
The proposals for the vacant Abbeygate Street building, which is Grade II Listed, are to provide two separate restaurants at the site, using the existing two entrances.
A planning statement said Cote Restaurants was Best Value Restaurant in the UK in 2009 in the Good Food Guide and the inspiration for the food and design came from a modern interpretation of the famous Paris bistros.
It added: “Cote Restaurants seek to provide a pleasant and social environment for local people as well as supporting local producers and farmers by using locally sources, organic produce within the restaurant.”
It said Bill’s offered fine food in a casual dining atmosphere with a focus on an “eclectic hand-crafted menu”, which also include areas for retail sales.
Mark Cordell, chief executive of the town centre’s BID (Business Improvement District) group Ourburystedmunds, said: “That a large unit like that can be put to practical use is great and hopefully with the Thing-Me-Bobs unit being used for retail that side of the town centre continues to be very attractive and full again.”
Colin Knight, chairman of Bury St Edmunds Chamber of Commerce, added: “The occupancy rate in Bury at the moment is pretty good and we are looking to fill almost the entire town now which is great. It brings people into the town.”
On whether Bury had too many eateries, he said businesses will have done their homework and know if it was a viable proposition or not.
A well-known retail company is understood to be interested in the empty Thing-Me-Bobs unit.