Sporting chance for new venue

A NEW £10million public building could become a major boxing, snooker and music venue, it has been revealed.While an entertainment venue has long been included as part of Bury St Edmunds' Cattle Market redevelopment scheme, full details of its purpose have never been revealed.

A NEW £10million public building could become a major boxing, snooker and music venue, it has been revealed.

While an entertainment venue has long been included as part of Bury St Edmunds' Cattle Market redevelopment scheme, full details of its purpose have never been revealed.

But at a meeting of the Cattle Market Redevelopment Working Party held in the town yesterday, St Edmundsbury borough councillor Andrew Varley announced it could become a major sporting venue and conference centre, adding: “Snooker and boxing would be suitable.”

The proposed building would be able to seat 500 people, or, for rock concerts, which are also planned, it would be able to accommodate 1,000 people standing.


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Another of the uses being explored for the building is that of a conference centre, said Mr Varley, who is chairman of the working party.

He said the building could be a “very good earner” for the borough council as a conference centre, adding members of the working party had visited several other public buildings around the country which were used for the same purposes.

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The meeting, which was attended by just three members of the public, was told that a specialist from Cambridge had advised that Bury would make an ideal conference venue.

He cited Eastbourne and Harrogate as examples of thriving conference centres.

Dinner dances were also discussed as a source of revenue for the building, but activities it will not accommodate will be modern dance or ballet performances, which Mr Varley said were effectively being “elbowed”, although dance practice sessions might be allowed.

The announcement was greeted with caution by conservation group the Bury Society, whose chairman David Rees said he was concerned about the variety of uses proposed for the building.

He said: “The trouble with buildings which are put to lots of different uses is that they hardly ever seem to work well for any single one of them.

“We were pleased with the idea of this building as a venue for young people, but it's difficult to see how it can be successfully converted overnight from a boxing ring into a dinner venue.”

As a dinner dance venue, the building will have a minimum capacity of 340, which is the maximum for the town's current venue, the Corn Exchange, and the 100 sq metre stage will be the town's largest.

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