Bury St Edmunds: Cupola House could reopen next year after Strada blaze
10:00 04 January 2013
A SEVENTEENTH century building that was ravaged by fire could be rebuilt by summer next year.
Grade I Listed Cupola House, in The Traverse, Bury St Edmunds, was almost totally destroyed after a blaze broke out in a basement kitchen in June 2012.
About 120 people were evacuated from the Strada restaurant, which was housed in the five-storey building, and although no one was seriously injured much of the building collapsed.
Since that time the house, which is now on English Heritage’s buildings at risk list, has been encased in scaffolding while contractors worked to clear debris and make the site safe.
David Clarke, of Hadleigh-based Richard Jackson Ltd and project engineer for the rebuild said he hopes it will be possible to submit plans for the rebuild next month with a view to start work in late spring.
Mr Clarke, who said there had been “an awful lot of pre-application discussions” with St Edmundsbury Borough Council and heritage bosses added: “We’re now in the stage of planning the rebuild.
“The target is to commence on the site in late spring with view to completion some time in May/June 2014.”
Planners have previously asked for people to submit photos of the interior of Cupola House, which was built in 1693 for rich apothecary Thomas Macro and his wife Susan, to help recreate the building’s ambience.
Cupola House is currently wrapped in a decorative shroud that replicates the former Strada restaurant and undamaged fascia.
Mr Clarke said that photographs had been used to create the design, which includes windows and ornate brick work.
He added: “It does make a big difference to the area and it is a lot better there now.”
Mark Cordell, chief executive of the town centre business improvement group Bid4 Bury added: “It’s a real success and has made a big difference to The Traverse and general area nearby.”
At the peak of the fire, which caused heat and smoke damage to neighbouring premises, a total of 80 firefighters were on the scene.