Father and son developers hoping to restore a historic but ‘dilapidated’ Guildhall Street building hit brick wall with council and call a public meeting to garner support

The former Motorspares shop in Guildhall Street, Bury.

The former Motorspares shop in Guildhall Street, Bury. - Credit: Archant

Developers hoping to restore a “dilapidated” building in an historic part of Bury St Edmunds say they cannot understand why the council is stopping them.

Barry Denny and son Matthew are pictured at the former Metcalfe Arms pub in Hawstead

Barry Denny and son Matthew are pictured at the former Metcalfe Arms pub in Hawstead - Credit: Archant

The father and son team who hope to revamp the former MotorSpares shop on Guildhall Street have now taken the unusual step of calling a public meeting on the issue.

The Bury Society said they were also supportive, in principle, of efforts to restore the site to residential use.

The move came after the third application to turn the property at 31, 32 and 33 Guildhall Street back into residential use was denied planning permission.

Barry Denny, from Little Whelnetham, and son Matthew, of Lark Valley Projects, bought the property with its standout four storey tower last year.

Barry Denny

Barry Denny - Credit: Archant

He said: “We just want to hear the views of people living in the area, we want to restore this building.

“It has been out of use for about two years and we wanted to return it into residential use.

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“We had our architect draw up plans to convert the four-storey tower into two luxury apartments and to build a carefully designed new house to replace the lean-to section, which were denied.

“One (council) department doesn’t seem to talk to the other. We have no idea what they would want from us to make it actually work.”

Since then, two other applications have been denied, along with an appeal, and Mr Denny is hoping he can garner public support for the project.

The developers have a track record of restoring and refurbishing properties in the area, with six historic houses, including a Grade II listed house near the Abbey Gardens.

Mr Denny said: “We want to see what people actually think should happen. It will end up falling down if we do nothing. We hope there will be positive comments but also want to hear any issues people may have.

“Most people will see it as a deteriorating and embarrassing eyesore in the middle of an elegant street.”

Mr Denny and his son’s most recent success story is a cycle shop and cafe at the former Metcalfe Arms, Hawstead, which had sat empty and unused.

He said: “The response has been overwhelmingly positive from the village. We want to do the same here, restore the place to its former glory.”

Karen Hurden, Chair of the Bury Society, said: “In principle we support the restoration of the site to residential use.

“Mixed use in the town centre is good for the area and those living there would get to enjoy the town.”

A borough council spokesman said: “We have met with the applicant to discuss with him options to move forward with the site. One option was for the site to be developed into smaller units.

“We have discussed other ideas for the site with the applicant and it is now down to him as to how he progresses with these.”

The meeting will be held at the Hunter Club, on Guildhall, on January 13 at 7.15pm.