A CHAIN of Chinese buffet restaurants have applied to take over a Grade II listed building in the heart of a west Suffolk town.

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According to plans submitted to St Edmundsbury Borough Council, HJ Tenger Holdings Ltd will convert the former Barclays Bank in Abbeygate Street, Bury St Edmunds into one of its Real China restaurants.

The chain’s bosses, who have made a number of visits to the vacant building, said if the change of use is granted it would lead to the creation of 12 full time jobs and 8 part-time jobs.

Xiaoyong Ding, a director at HJ Tenger, said the building would become one of 22 restaurants it owns across the county and would be capable of seating 100 diners.

He added: “Our principle concept is the Real China brand which targets town centres and high streets so the building is a good fit. We visited the site several times and the size and location were seen as suitable.”

The building, which is within the Bury St Edmunds Town Centre Conservation Area, was build in the 19th Century and was originally split in two - with one half being used by Gurneys of Norwich as a bank until it was absorbed by Barclays in 1896.

The distinctive Stucco-faced property also formed part of the main post office in Bury from 1881 to 1895 before the service was moved to its current site in Cornhill.

According to a heritage statement, included in the application, there will be limited change to the front of the building to allow new signage.

Members of the Bury Society, a group dedicated to ensuring that the town remains a “beautiful town in which to live and work”, are yet to formally discuss the plans.

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