Builder appointed for next stage of 'landmark redevelopment' of former post office building
PUBLISHED: 11:30 13 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:58 13 December 2018
A builder has been appointed for the next stage of a £6.72million transformation of the former post office building in Bury St Edmunds town centre.
Ipswich-based Barnes Construction has been appointed as the pre-construction contractor for 17-18 Cornhill.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council bought the Victorian building last year and revealed plans to keep the historic frontage and redevelop the site to provide a wider walkway at Market Thoroughfare.
The issue of a wider link between the Arc shopping centre and the ‘old’ town centre has been a long-standing issue in the town, and was a key issue in the Bury St Edmunds Town Centre Masterplan.
Around 12 residential apartments are set for the three storeys above the ground floor of the building – which will house retail units under the proposals.
The council hopes the development could trigger other owners to invest in improving the area.
A public exhibition was held during the summer and the council says the designs were “enthusiastically received”.
The council said it has made the decision not to submit the planning application for the project in the run-up to Christmas when people may not have the opportunity to view them.
Instead, the authority said it will discuss the plans with partners next month with a view a submitting an application in February.
Susan Glossop, cabinet member for planning and growth at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “As we would do for any major project, it is important to get advice that will help not only with our planning application, but also with the building programme, all the while mindful to keep any disruption to local residents, visitors and businesses to the absolute minimum.
“This advice will also help to ensure that our ambitions for dramatic improvements to Market Thoroughfare and St Andrews Street South remain realistic and achievable, providing economic and social benefits for our communities and local businesses as well.”
John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “We are looking to invest a lot of money in this exciting town centre project. “Through it we will deliver on improvements that will not only make the town centre even more vibrant and attractive but also show the potential of what can be achieved in the area to other landowners and investors.
“This is also about the council leading and delivering on things that people asked for during our work on the town centre masterplan in 2017.
“That is why this appointment is an important milestone in this prestigious town centre project and why I am so delighted to have Barnes on board to help us take it forward.”
Mark Bailey, director at Barnes Construction, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed to work on helping deliver this prestigious landmark redevelopment.
“We are keen to develop a build programme that minimises disruption to the town centre, particularly around the busier times of the year such as the run up to next Christmas.”