Cabinet agrees to £6.7m funding to rejuvenate former post office in Bury St Edmunds

Vox pop at Bury St Edmunds Post Office. To go with story about excessive queuing.

Vox pop at Bury St Edmunds Post Office. To go with story about excessive queuing. - Credit: Gregg Brown

An £6.72 million landmark project to transform the former post office in Bury St Edmunds and protect the future prosperity of the town has been given the go ahead by an influencial group of councillors.

It could see the historic Victorian facade of the building on the Cornhill retained and the rear of the site transformed into retails spaces and 12 apartments.

The Market Thoroughfare link between the town centre and the Arc Shopping Centre is also set to be widened, a “long held” ambition of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, and a new shop facing onto St Andrew’s Street South created.

Members of the council’s cabinet debated the scheme on Tuesday giving the go ahead but it also has to be ratified by the full council which meets next week.

John Griffiths, leader of the council, said: “This landmark project, if approved by full council, will benefit our town centre businesses and our residents and visitors to the town alike, while protecting our heritage.

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“We also believe that it should be a catalyst for further investment to the town particularly in St Andrews Street.

“Most importantly perhaps, this investment, coupled with our other masterplan work, will help to protect the future prosperity of Bury St Edmunds town centre and indeed West Suffolk, and ensure it continues to be a great place to live, work and visit.

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“I would like to thank the many people and businesses who have already worked, and are working, with us to help bring this exciting project - and its many benefits for our community - to fruition.”

And Alaric Pugh, cabinet member for Planning and Growth, added: “We know that if we hadn’t purchased this building, the opportunity for all these important improvements to be made – improvements that people asked for as part of our Bury St Edmunds town centre masterplan, would be lost.

“Now we need to invest to deliver on these and that investment will be debated by full council next week.

“This is an investment that will keep the historic Victorian front that everyone including myself, is so fond of; it will improve and widen Market Thoroughfare – a long held ambition of this council; and it will create a new frontage onto St Andrews Street South to act as a catalyst, attracting investment and dramatic improvements to this fairly shabby looking but important part of the town centre.

“We have been working with many of the town centre partners representing businesses and conservation and I cannot wait to share the emerging designs with people when we hold our public exhibition in the summer.”

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