Update: Work continues to protect facade of fire-damaged Cupola House in Bury St Edmunds

WORKMEN are trying to finish scaffolding to protect the facade of fire-ravaged Cupola House in Bury St Edmunds.

Engineers began work on Saturday to remove the rubble filling the interior of the building, home to Strada restaurant, in The Traverse.

A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council said as the material was cleared from above the remaining part of the first floor important structural timbers were exposed and it became apparent that the post and beams were moving and work on shifting the debris was halted.

She said the priority now was to finish the scaffolding to protect the fa�ade as a free standing structure, and then begin to carefully dismantle the building from the top.

Heavy lifting gear will return to the site tomorrow night and on Wednesday it is planned to use the mobile crane and cage to guide the lifting gear in to cut and take out material.

The spokeswoman said one aim of the clearance work has been to allow the fire service access to the cellars so they can complete their investigation and confirm that no pockets of fire remain.

Although the rear cellars have collapsed and are filled with rubble, fire officers were able to enter the front cellars and as a result they are now making periodic inspections, but are no longer attending the scene.

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The site has now been handed over by the fire service to the contractors. Skinner Street remains closed.

Information continues to be posted on whiteboards outside Croasdales Chemists in the town centre and on the borough council website at www.stedmundsbury.gov.uk

Regular meetings continue to be held with the businesses and residents who have been affected by the fire, which broke out just before 9pm on June 16.

Businesses which remain closed are: Nationwide Building Society (plans to open tomorrow), Sahara, Jessops, Bella Lingerie and Scarlet (plans to open tomorrow).

Residents are being invited to contribute memories of Cupola House to create a record of the role the building has played in the history of the town. The memories can be personal or historical and they will be published on the borough council website.

Memories can be left at the whiteboards being staffed in the town centre, at the Tourist Information Centre in Angel Hill or at Moyse’s Hall, or emailed to communications@stedsnc.gov.uk or posted to The Communications Unit, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds IP33 3YU.

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