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St Edmundsbury Borough Council close to completing £1.6m deal for Bury St Edmunds iconic town centre post office

PUBLISHED: 18:27 26 October 2017 | UPDATED: 14:51 27 October 2017

Bury St Edmunds Post Office before it closed last year

Bury St Edmunds Post Office before it closed last year

Nearly a year after it closed, the historic Crown Post Office in Bury St Edmunds is set to be bought by the borough council in a £1.6m deal, it has been revealed.

Jane Andrews, chairman of the Bury St Edmunds Friendship Centre, and Ron Webster, 93, a Bury resident and WW2 veteran outside the old Post Office building in CornhillJane Andrews, chairman of the Bury St Edmunds Friendship Centre, and Ron Webster, 93, a Bury resident and WW2 veteran outside the old Post Office building in Cornhill

St Edmundsbury Borough Council says they are close to completing on the purchase of the iconic town centre building and will now consider plans for the site.

The council says it will explore various options including refurbishing and extending the former Post Office building using its existing structure.

It is believed the building will be turned into a mixed retail and residential development.

It was first announced the distinctive Victorian building at 17-18 Cornhill, which had been home to the town’s post office for more than 100 years, would be sold in July 2016. It officially closed on November 16 last year and the Post Office moved its services next door to WH Smith.

Councillor John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, outside the former Post Office building, which the borough council is set to buy for £1.6m. Picture: ST EDMUNDSBURY BOROUGH COUNCILCouncillor John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, outside the former Post Office building, which the borough council is set to buy for £1.6m. Picture: ST EDMUNDSBURY BOROUGH COUNCIL

Borough council leader John Griffiths said: “While the building is sited within the historic town conservation area, ownership could unlock short term and longer term opportunities to make the area, including Market Thoroughfare, more attractive and further boost the offer of the town.

“This is another example of St Edmundsbury continuing to look for investment opportunities which aid the delivery of the masterplans for both Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill as well as the success of our rural areas. It is part of our strategic commercial approach to encourage growth and ensure future prosperity for our local communities throughout the borough and West Suffolk.”

Mark Cordell, chief executive of OurBuryStEdmunds BID, said: “It is important that this site wasn’t left to deteriorate and I am delighted that the council looks set to acquire the building. I look forward to seeing their plans for the site.”

Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds, said: “The borough council has shown real initiative, acting to secure this strategic site and I welcome this bold and exciting move.”

Laura Tarling, of the Post Office said: “We are pleased to be working towards completion of the sale of this site to St Edmundsbury Borough Council.”

The council says the purchase will fit in with St Edmundsbury’s strategy to invest in its town centres as outlined in its six point plan for jobs and growth.

Martyn Taylor, chairman of the Bury Society, said: “The Bury Society has been concerned that the former Post Office building not be left to fall into decline and that the historic front in the Conservation Area is bought back into use.

“The society welcomes the council’s announcement and the potential that it brings for significant visual improvements to St Andrews Street South and Market Thoroughfare.

“We will await the plans that will come forward for this site with interest.”

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