Bury St Edmunds: JD Wetherspoon unveils Corn Exchange pub plans

LONG-AWAITED plans revealing what a major pub chain wants to do to a landmark building are finally available to the public.

JD Wetherspoon’s application to transform the Corn Exchange in Abbeygate Street, Bury St Edmunds, into a drinking establishment and restaurant, at a cost of about �700,000, can be accessed on the St Edmundsbury Borough Council website.

There has been strong opposition against the Grade II-Listed building becoming a pub, but others have expressed their support.

A planning application has been submitted to change the use of the first floor and part of ground floor from public hall to drinking establishment, and signage and listed building consent have also been applied for.

The plans include new toilet facilities, kitchen, wash room, cellar, bar, customer area, stores and office. Outside areas either side of the main steps would be used by smokers. A statement said all existing stonework would be retained and “all efforts will be made” to expose the original features, including the hidden original column capitals.

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Signage would include amenity boards, hanging signs and The Corn Exchange in gold lettering projected off the stonework.

The proposed opening hours are 7am to midnight Sunday to Thursday and 7am to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays, but the firm would seek permission for an additional 30 minutes after these times for “drinking-up”.

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Another statement said while residents sometimes felt the new pub would give rise to significant noise and disturbance, the firm’s experience was that is rarely occurred. There are no plans for amplified music.

Councillor Paul Farmer, who represents the Abbeygate ward, said he would be calling for the opening hours to be limited to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and 11pm the rest of the week to try and prevent any disturbance to nearby residents.

Alan Jary, vice chair of the Bury Society, believed the group was still against plans for a pub in the historic building.

The borough council, which backs the pub bid, refused an application by itself for the same change of use. JD Wetherspoon would also need a licence to operate the pub.

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