Plans to redevelop historic town centre post office in Bury St Edmunds to be considered

Plans to redevelop the historic Cornhill post office in Bury St Edmunds will go before councillors i

Plans to redevelop the historic Cornhill post office in Bury St Edmunds will go before councillors in April. Picture: MICHAEL STEWARD - Credit: Archant

Plans to redevelop Bury St Edmunds’ historic town centre post office will be considered by councillors in April, it has been announced.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council has appointed architects for a project to refurbish and extend the building at 17-18 Cornhill.

It was first announced the distinctive Victorian building – which had been home to the town’s post office for more than 100 years – would be sold in July 2016.

It officially closed on November 16, 2016, and the Post Office moved its services next door to WH Smith.

The borough council revealed in October last year that it was close to completing a deal for the building for around £1.6million.

A business case and proposals will now go before the council’s cabinet at the beginning of April and if approved, full council will then be recommended to approve funding before the end of April.

Appointed architects Donald Insall Associates have been asked to develop proposals which keep the historic Victorian front, bring the building back into economic use, and better integrate the Arc shopping centre with the Cornhill and Buttermarket – an issue which was raised in the town centre masterplan.

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Councillor Alaric Pugh, cabinet member for planning and growth, said: “The masterplan was shaped by what the public had to say last year.

“One of the major aspirations is about how we better integrate the Arc with the Cornhill and Buttermarket areas of the town centre.

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“St Andrews Street South and Market Thoroughfare are key to this. The purchase of 17-18 Cornhill by the Council, although not a masterplan aspiration in itself, offers the opportunity to explore potential for a new shop front onto St Andrews Street South which we hope will open the eyes to other landowners and investors as to what can be achieved there. Equally we will not simply be investing to gain the maximum financial return, but to deliver social and economic improvements to the area. As part of this, working with Donald Insall Associates, we are aiming for some very real improvements to the look and feel of Market Thoroughfare.

“Had we not acted and invested in the purchase of this building, the Council would have little or no control over these outcomes.”

The council says it will continue to work with a range of key partners on this project and others relating to the masterplan.

Tanvir Hasan, deputy chairman of Donald Insall Associates, said: “We are delighted to have been selected to work with St Edmundsbury Borough Council on this exciting town centre project.

“We will now assist them in preparing proposals which will form part of the business case for investment to be considered by cabinet in early April.”

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