Work on former post office redevelopment could start next month after funding boost
- Credit: Archant
Construction to transform Bury St Edmunds’ iconic former town centre post office could start next month after the council secured £2.75million in Government investment.
Work is expected to begin on the £8.4m redevelopment project, at 17-18 Cornhill, on September 7, and will include 12 flats and two business units.
The rear of the building will be demolished while the Victorian frontage will be retained and the nearby Market Thoroughfare improved.
The wider walkway will better connect the historic town centre with the modern Arc shopping centre.
West Suffolk Council, along with the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, secured the £2.75m from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
MORE: Renovation of old Burton’s building receives multi-million pound boost 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.
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It officially closed on November 16, 2016, and the Post Office moved its services next door to WH Smith.
Appointed architects Donald Insall Associates were 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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Construction is expected to be completed in early 2022 and the project is designed to break even financially.
Jo Churchill MP for Bury St Edmunds, said: “I am delighted Bury St Edmunds will directly benefit from this Government money – helping to build the infrastructure and homes our community needs while supporting jobs over the months and years ahead.
“The Cornhill improvements will develop and enhance the link between the historic town centre and the Arc shopping centre, ensuring that residents and visitors to the town can shop at some of our amazing local businesses or grab a bite to eat with ease. The addition of 12 flats also provide much needed housing in the town centre and I welcome the move to make use of an empty building whilst maintaining its historic features.”
John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “By investing in its long-term future, we are demonstrating to all our ambition and confidence that the town centre will bounce back and be a place not just of economic, but also of social and cultural activity.
“We are creating a better, wider walkway encouraging footfall between the arc and the historic town centre. We are creating a new commercial frontage onto St Andrews St South, so that the street becomes more of an attraction in its own right. And we will be improving access while also keeping the historic Cornhill front. Through the new homes and commercial units we will also be creating a small level of income which will help toward the day to day services we provide.”
“We all know that construction projects nationally have been impacted by COVID-19 which has delayed and slowed builds. I very much welcome the Government’s recognition of this important project which will help the long-term future of the town centre.”
Susan Glossop, cabinet member for growth, said: “I am delighted that following the recent delay, we are now able to progress this scheme, one which has been shaped through public comments on the town centre masterplan and a very successful exhibition of ideas and the input through our work with town centre partners for which I am very grateful.”
Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia LEP, said: “We’re pleased to be supporting the redevelopment of the Cornhill, which will help to enhance and revitalise the town centre. As towns reopen following the Covid-19 pandemic, projects like this which make them inviting, exciting and accessible places to visit will play an important part in our recovery.”
Plans to turn a landmark building on Ipswich Waterfront into an arts and media hub have received a £3million boost from the Government.
The funding will be injected into the project to revamp the old Burton’s building and adjoining warehouse on Ipswich Waterfront.