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New shop to open at one of Suffolk's popular attractions

PUBLISHED: 11:37 20 November 2019 | UPDATED: 14:53 20 November 2019

Jackie Byrnand at the new visitor centre in Abbey Gardens  Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN

Jackie Byrnand at the new visitor centre in Abbey Gardens Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A new plant sales area and information centre is to open at a popular Suffolk location.

Bury St Edmunds is a popular place to live - which has pushed up house prices considerably.  Picture: PHIL MORLEYBury St Edmunds is a popular place to live - which has pushed up house prices considerably. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

The £85,000 unit opens at midday on Thursday November 21 in Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds, and has been built on a redundant part of the gardens' aviary.

It has been installed by West Suffolk Council to solve the headache of storing plants sold to visitors - more than 1.2 million went to the gardens last year.

Plants have been sold in the gardens from a rangers hut near the bowls green for many years but a lack of space has meant they have to be moved in and out of the building at the beginning and end of each day.

The new building, which has a sedum living green roof, offers a better space for plant sales and also to direct people to information about the history of the Abbey and the town.

The new plant sales building will incorporate part of a vacant section of the aviary in the Abbey Gardens  Picture: MARIAM GHAEMIThe new plant sales building will incorporate part of a vacant section of the aviary in the Abbey Gardens Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

The gardens are anticipated to see even more visitors next year as they will be at the centre of community celebrations to mark the 1,000 years since the abbey was founded by King Canute in honour of St Edmund.

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He was the first patron saint of England and king of East Anglia. Killed by the Danes in 869, the abbey was built to house his remains.

It was one of the finest in England until the Dissolution under Henry VIII left it in ruins.

The gardens are in the grounds of what was the abbey.

A year-long programme of celebrations marking the 1,000th anniversary was announced on November 12 by the Abbey 1000 group, made up of a number of organisations in the town including St Edmundsbury Cathedral, West Suffolk Council, Bury St Edmunds Town Council and the Our Bury St Edmunds Business Improvement District.

A spokesman for West Suffolk Council said: "The Abbey Gardens and the wider historic fabric and heritage of the Abbey of St Edmund continues to be a popular attraction for local residents and visitors alike.

"We recognise that people visit the gardens for leisure activities as well as to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

"That is why we are continuing to invest in its facilities as well as building new tennis courts on the site of the former Eastgate Nurseries on the other side of the river."

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