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Is Bury St Edmunds getting a new Italian restaurant?

PUBLISHED: 19:00 28 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:04 29 November 2019

The former RBS branch in Bury St Edmunds may become an Italian restaurant Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

The former RBS branch in Bury St Edmunds may become an Italian restaurant Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

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An empty bank in Bury St Edmunds town centre may become an Italian restaurant.

Sakura Japanese restaurant in Cupola House is a recent edition to the town Picture: MARIAM GHAEMISakura Japanese restaurant in Cupola House is a recent edition to the town Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

Plans have been submitted to West Suffolk Council for the former Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) branch in Guildhall Street, on the junction with Cornhill.

The applicants G S Towers Ltd, who bought the property from RBS when they vacated the building about 18 months ago, are planning to change the ground floor and part of the first floor into an Italian restaurant.

Bury has an abundance of eateries, including a Wetherspoon pub, Cote Brasserie, Bill's and Cafe Rouge all a stone's throw away from the building. And nearby Cupola House - that was rebuilt after a devastating fire - is now Japanese restaurant Sakura.

As well as a change of use application, a listed buildings application has also been submitted for an extraction flue to the rear and to remove modern partitions on the first floor.

The building is grade II listed and features a Bury Society blue plaque dedicated to artist Sybil Andrews who was born there in 1898.

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Martyn Taylor, chairman of the Bury Society, said: "From a Bury Society point of view, empty shops are not good. The last thing we want is to have a high street desert.

"We need the empty buildings taken up and, if the only way to get customers in through the doors is to open up a restaurant, it's better than nothing. What else would go there?"

He said ideally shops would have a variety of uses in the town centre, adding "cafe culture" was taking over.

Lucia Travnicskova, manager of the Mind charity shop in Cornhill, added: "We have lots of restaurants, but it would be better than it being empty. It would be nice to have something different."

The market town already has Pizza Express, Prezzo and Carluccio's Italian restaurants.

It is not known what the new restaurant would be exactly, but a statement with the application said it would generate activity in the town centre and "be a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the Bury St Edmunds Town Centre Conservation Area".

The applicants are also looking to apply to install new signage.

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