Town council moving back to 800-year-old Guildhall in centre of Bury St Edmunds
A town council is returning to its historic home in a move described as a “win-win” for everybody.
Bury St Edmunds Town Council has signed the lease to move its offices and meetings to the Guildhall, which dates back to at least 1279 and is said to be the oldest continuously-used civic building in Britain.
It is understood the town council, which had been renting premises from a private landlord in Angel Hill, held its last council meeting in the Guildhall in 1966.
The move back to the Grade I-Listed building has been in the pipeline for some years, but at last week's full town council meeting it was unanimously agreed to sign the lease with the Bury St Edmunds Heritage Trust.
Town clerk Greg Luton said as well as providing improved facilities, the cheaper lease would also save taxpayers money.
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He said: "We are thrilled to be moving back to our historic home in the Guildhall.
"This move will provide the town council with renovated office facilities as well as full facilities for council meetings."
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He added: "This move is a win-win for everyone: the town council will have improved facilities and our hosts, the Bury St Edmunds Heritage Trust, will get a long-term tenant."
The trust is in charge of running the building, which is owned by the Guildhall Feoffment.
The building, in Guildhall Street, was transformed into a visitor attraction and community hub following a £2million restoration project.
It boasts a World War Two Royal Observer Corps Control Centre - the only surviving room of its kind in the world.
MORE: Historic Suffolk building opens doors after £2million restorationTown mayor Peter Thompson described the town council as an "anchor tenant" that would provide a regular income stream for the trust.
He said the move would achieve a "long-term home and an appropriate home" for the town council, adding the connection with the building's civic history was "important".
Martin Lightfoot, chairman of the Bury St Edmunds Heritage Trust, said: "We are really pleased it's come to fruition and we have been working on it for some time. It gives long-term security for the building."
He added: "It's the town council back to where it should be really."
He said the town got its charter in 1607 so Bury had a town council from then onwards, traditionally meeting in the Guildhall.
The town council will move in June and meetings will take place in the main Guildhall building while the office accommodation will be located in an associated property in Whiting Street.