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Bury St Edmunds: Reconstruction work to start on historic Cupola House in The Traverse

PUBLISHED: 18:08 06 January 2014 | UPDATED: 16:31 07 January 2014

The chimney at Cupola House being taken down brick by brick after a fire destroyed the building

The chimney at Cupola House being taken down brick by brick after a fire destroyed the building

The major part of a long-awaited redevelopment of a historic town-centre building is due to get under way in less than a week.

Reconstruction work will begin at Cupola House in Bury St Edmunds on Monday, after contractors, Seamans Building, made progress with enabling works allowing the Grade I-listed building to be developed.

The 17th Century building, which housed Strada restaurant, was gutted by fire in June 2012.

The project is due to finish around February next year. Alan Jary, chairman of preservation charity The Bury Society, said: “We’re delighted it’s about to start. We want to see a very good, high-quality rebuild.

“The owners and people doing it up are in contact with local people who know of the building’s history and significance.

“They realise how the people of Bury feel about this building. It’s one of the best buildings in the town, steeped in history – there are so many records of the building.

“There is no excuse for it not to be a scholarly reconstruction. We shall be looking forward to seeing the result.”

Plans for the redevelopment of the building were drawn up by architects Purcell and approved by St Edmundsbury Borough Council in July.

The new building is designed to look much the same on the outside as the old building, but will be reinforced with a new steel frame to prevent the kind of collapse that happened during the fire.

It would mean the return of the building’s iconic cupola, the dome-like structure on its roof, from which the building took its name.

Ben Whatling, from contractors Seamans, said: “We have recently progressed some of the enabling works together with the completion of the party wall awards, and we have received confirmed instructions to progress with the reconstruction works with a scheduled commencement date of January 13.

“The reconstruction of Cupola House is considerably involved both in details and logistics, and undoubtedly issues are likely to arise.

“The anticipated project duration is for around 54 weeks.

“Efforts will be made to ensure the duration is achievable, however as previously highlighted this duration may fluctuate through variation or unavoidable delays – a risk attributable to any construction project.”

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