Bury St Edmunds: Pub could become funeral parlour

Old Elephant and Castle pub in Bury could be developed into a funeral parlour.

Old Elephant and Castle pub in Bury could be developed into a funeral parlour. - Credit: Gregg Brown

An historic west Suffolk pub that has stood empty for the last two years could be brought back to life – as a funeral parlour.

The Elephant and Castle, on Hospital Road, Bury St Edmunds, which dates back to 1840, shut in 2012 after landlords said the pub was no longer financially viable.

Now the East of England Co-operative Society is seeking to transform the lower floors of the Grade II Listed pub into a “funeral arrangement facility” which will have the effect of “re-energizing” a prominent town building.

Documents submitted to St Edmundsbury Borough Council planners, say the town centre location of the former Greene King pub, will allow “greater access for clients, especially the elderly or disabled” while also increasing privacy when visiting the chapel of rest.

If the application is passed, the Co-operative Society plan to move their existing funeral business in Bury into the building and will enable the organisation to provide new services for the local community, such as bereavement support and bereavement counselling sessions.

Writing in documents that accompany the application, a spokesman for the Co-operative Society said the use of the Elephant and Castle building will “not only secure the future of the business, but allow for additional growth.”

Following the pub’s closure, a Greene King spokesman said it was sometimes necessary to take the difficult decision to close pubs which have become unviable as businesses due to a reduction in the number of customers using them. He added that a long-term decision on the pub’s future had yet to be made.

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Consultation on the proposals finishes on October 10 with a decision due in November.

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