West Suffolk: Businesses offered opportunity to move into Mildenhall and Bury St Edmunds bus stations

Cllrs Robin Millar and David Ray outside Bury bus station which is up for rent

Cllrs Robin Millar and David Ray outside Bury bus station which is up for rent - Credit: Archant

Businesses and community groups are being offered a chance to operate from one of two bus stations in west Suffolk under a new partnership initiative with the local councils.

Cllrs Robin Millar and David Ray at Mildenhall bus station.

Cllrs Robin Millar and David Ray at Mildenhall bus station. - Credit: Archant

West Suffolk partners, Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council, are looking to lease all or part of the main bus station buildings in Bury St Edmunds and Mildenhall as a revenue raiser in the face of council budget cuts.

The buildings, which are currently staffed by council employees who handle queries and admin relating to the bus services, are being marketed to a wide range of organisations as part of a new commercial approach by the councils.

Interested parties are invited to express an interest and put forward suggestions as to what the buildings could be used for, which could be anything from commercial retail to a charity headquarters.

The aim is to create new opportunities in the heart of the two busy market towns, while at the same time reducing the cost of the buildings to taxpayers.

David Ray, St Edmundsbury cabinet member for resources and performance said: “This represents an exciting opportunity to form a new partnership to the benefit not just of the new business or community group, but also to the customers of the bus station and the pockets of our hard working taxpayers.

“By working with a commercial operator, we will be helping to create new employment, while a community organisation could bring added value to people who already use our bus station buildings.”

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A council spokesman said they were exploring all options, including leaving some council staff on site. In all cases, both locations will continue to operate as bus stations.

Robin Millar, Forest Heath’s cabinet member for families and communities said thousands of visitors use the two bus stations each year, who were all “potential business customers” or clients of a new community project.

He added: “We want to hear from businesses, individuals or groups who see this potential to raise money and offer their services more widely. We are very keen to hear their ideas and work with them to develop the right proposal.”

Expressions of interest for one or both buildings should be submitted by November 5 to Davina.howes@westsuffolk.gov.uk or via post to Davina Howes, Head of Policy, Communications and Customers, West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 3YU.

Proposals will be considered by the two councils in December.