Purchase of former bank will ‘act as a catalyst’ to encourage investment
- Credit: Archant
The former HSBC building in Haverhill town centre has been bought by the council to “act as a catalyst” for further investment in the area.
The building on the town’s High Street has been empty for two years and borders the pedestrian link to the bus station and leisure quarter.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council, which will merge with Forest Heath District Council to form West Suffolk Council next month, purchased the building for £376,400.
The potential for redevelopment includes opening a wider pedestrian corridor by repositioning ground floor retail units to create a better link between the leisure quarter and the High Street.
John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “Haverhill’s potential is being realised thanks to both this council’s commitment to invest in our communities and to the town’s backing of its town centre masterplan.
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“This strategic purchase will deliver a key masterplan objective to improve the relationship between the High Street and leisure quarter. “It will raise the quality and attractiveness of pedestrian walkways between the two, and provide income to help deliver valued council services.”
The council says that while options are examined, interim uses for the building will be sought to support the community and provide a return to help cover holding costs.
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Susan Glossop, St Edmundsbury cabinet member for planning and growth, said: “The High Street is changing and Haverhill is ahead of the game in having a shared vision, expressed in its town centre masterplan.
“This council investment will support economic growth and act as a catalyst to encourage further investment and development by the private sector. I look forward to sharing the design for what will be an effective regeneration scheme.”
John Mayhew, chairman of ONE Haverhill, the partnership overseeing delivery of the town centre masterplan, said: “This is a further vote of confidence in Haverhill and another step in fulfilling its potential as the county’s fourth largest town.
“The influence this investment in the town centre has with the private sector shouldn’t be underestimated. Haverhill has energy and a great sense of purpose, and key investments like this make it even more attractive.”