Bury St Edmunds: One-year anniversary of devastating Cupola House fire

The fire at Cupola House on June 16 last year.

The fire at Cupola House on June 16 last year. - Credit: Archant

The effects of a devastating fire in Bury St Edmunds one year ago yesterday are still being felt.

The blaze ripped through Grade I-listed Cupola House, which was home to the Strada restaurant, causing severe damage.

All 120 diners were safely evacuated and no-one was hurt.

But scaffolding is still in place in The Traverse - and will be for some time - as a major restoration operation is set to get under way.

Planning and listed building applications were submitted earlier in the year to St Edmundsbury Borough Council and are awaiting approval.

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Immediately after the fire, 15 businesses, including Strada, remained shut.

Clothes boutique Sahara, which had to undergo a refurbishment, was the last store to reopen, finally welcoming customers back in November.

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Manager Kiki Law said footfall was still down a year on from the blaze.

“This affected our business so enormously and we are trying really hard to let people know we are open, and we have a very optimistic attitude about how we approach the fact we have this problem right next door to us,” she said.

She said traders in The Traverse were making an effort to ensure there was still a lovely atmosphere in their stores and the same level of customer service.

She thanked loyal customers for their support, adding: “We hope that people who haven’t been to the store will take this opportunity now to come in and have a look.”

Cristie Hammond, a spokeswoman for Purcell, the architects behind the restoration, said if the plans were approved work should start on site soon. It would be an 11-month construction programme finishing in the summer of next year.

She said it would be a “scholarly reconstruction,” adding sprinklers would be installed in the building, which dates from the 17th Century.

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