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East Anglia Future 50

Former Argos town centre store could become mixture of retail and flats

The former Argos store at 29 Buttermarket in Bury St Edmunds is set to be altered Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The former Argos store at 29 Buttermarket in Bury St Edmunds is set to be altered Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Archant

Plans to turn the former Argos store in Bury St Edmunds town centre into a mixed retail and residential site have been revealed.

A planning application for conversion of the building at 29 Buttermarket to provide retail/offices and four apartments, with associated car and cycle parking, has been submitted to St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

The retail frontage will be retained in the plans, but the back of the building will be remodelled with a central courtyard and apartments over four floors.

The proposals would see the retail floorspace reduced and one two-bed apartment at the back of the first floor, with two two-bed apartments and one three-bed over three storeys.

Applicants Bellborough Ltd specialises in utilising existing buildings by refurbishment – rather than demolition and new build.

Argos left the town centre in March last year and launched a new digital store inside Sainsbury’s supermarket on the town’s Moreton Hall estate.

The move came after Sainsbury’s acquired Home Retail Group, which owns Argos and Habitat, in a £1.4billion takeover in 2016.

MORE: Argos move from Bury St Edmunds town centre to Moreton Hall Sainsbury’s

The planning statement on the application reads: “The existing building has historic retail use, though most of the floorspace, including the upper floors, has been largely used for the storage of stock – only a small area has been used as shop fronting the Buttermarket.

“The existing retail unit occupies the whole of the ground floor, the format of which is too deep with too narrow a shop frontage for todays’ town centre retailers.”

The reduced retail space will offer a “more attractive opportunity” for retailers, according to the applicants.

“The refurbished retail unit offers a more valuable shop floor trading area than the Argos store, which had a limited trading area and was essentially storage for the collection of goods to the rear, the statement added.

“The reduced retail unit would represent a more attractive opportunity for retailers looking for units within Bury St Edmunds town centre and would therefore be more lettable and viable than continued use of the entire building for retail purposes.”

A decision is expected from council planners with the next month.

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