Link between old and new Bury St Edmunds needs to be developed, says business leader
- Credit: Gregg Brown
A business leader says an “ambitious scheme” needs to be developed to link the old quarter of Bury St Edmunds with the Arc after the borough council revealed it was buying the former Post Office.
Mark Cordell, chief executive of OurBuryStEdmunds BID, and part of the Bury St Edmunds Town Centre Masterplan working group, said improving the link was “one of the priorities” to come out of the masterplan.
A proper walkway between the old and new parts of Bury St Edmunds is a long-standing issue, with the argument that some visitors to Bury St Edmunds are not always fully aware both parts of the town exist.
The chairman of Palmers, Bruce Strurrock, said the introduction of the Arc “changed the axis of the town centre” following the announcement the fashion store - located in the old town – was closing.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council revealed on Thursday that it is close to completing a deal to buy the former Post Office building at 17-18 Cornhill for £1.6million.
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The authority says it will consider its options for the site, including refurbishing and extending the iconic Victorian building using its existing structure.
Mr Cordell said: “We are delighted that the council is purchasing the former post office, which will enable all of us to work with them to come up with an ambitious scheme to improve the link between the old town centre and the Arc – which is one of the priorities that has come out of the masterplan consultation.”
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John Popham, from the Bury Town Trust, said: “This is a significant building within the town centre conservation area, its frontage must be preserved and I am glad that the council is close to securing this site.
“The town trust looks forward to working with the council as it considers this site in the context of the ambitions coming forward in the Bury St Edmunds Town Centre Masterplan.
“We expect they will work to convert it in a manner that both enhances the appearance of this area and contributes to the success and vibrancy of the town.”
The chairman of the Bury Society – a charity dedicated to the growth and heritage of the town – welcomed the borough council’s announcement.
Martyn Taylor said: “The Bury Society has been concerned that the former Post Office building not be left to fall into decline and that the historic front in the Conservation Area is bought back into use.
“The society welcomes the council’s announcement and the potential that it brings for significant visual improvements to St Andrews Street South and Market Thoroughfare.
“We will await the plans that will come forward for this site with interest.”