Plans approved for former Bury Post Office
- Credit: Archant
A new lease of life for an historic Bury St Edmunds town centre landmark has been agreed.
The former Post Office on the Cornhill is to be transformed into 12 flats and two retail units, after West Suffolk Council's development control committee approved the plans on Wednesday. While the rear is to be demolished, the well-known landmark will retain its Victorian frontage, according to the council which lodged the plans, and improve the adjacent Market Thoroughfare.
Construction work is likely to start in the spring, the council later announced, with completion pencilled in for as early as 2021.
John Griffiths, Leader of West Suffolk Council, said after the meeting: "This is a major investment and it's an important one as we work to ensure the continuing success of Bury St Edmunds town centre as a place to work, live, visit and enjoy its many social and leisure activities.
"Not only will this investment improve Market Thoroughfare and St Andrews Street South and help drive benefits for the wider town centre economy, but it is a break even scheme which means there should be no burden on the taxpayer."
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The Bury St Edmunds society and Bury Town Council have also backed the revamp.
Councillor Andy Drummond said at the meeting: "I particularly like the way the Market Thoroughfare is being dealt with because I always thought that was a nasty tunnel.
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"I used the post office when it was a post office, and I think what is being put forward is fantastic.
"It's a public realm project so why wouldn't we support it?"
The plans were backed unanimously.
The building opened in 1896 and is considered historically important locally, but does not actually have any formal listing. It does however lie in the Bury town centre conservation area.
A sum of £454,000 is to be contributed to affordable housing in other developments in Bury, as well as school and pre-school contributions totalling nearly £50,000.
Some concerns were raised that the affordable housing sum was too low, but planning officers said it was calculated to a formula on the build cost.