Cornhill marks milestone as countdown to completion begins

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A major milestone in an important Bury St Edmunds town centre redevelopment has been celebrated as the project begins its countdown to completion.

West Suffolk Council is behind the redevelopment of the former Post Office. The building work being carried out by Barnes Construction, is scheduled for completion this summer. Once finished, it will:

• protect the Victorian Cornhill front while bringing it back into economic use and improving accessibility
• create a new commercial front onto St Andrews Street South, better connecting the historic town centre with the arc
• widen the Market Thoroughfare walkway at ground-floor level by more than 50 per cent, encouraging footfall between the historic town centre and the arc
• deliver two new ground floor commercial units, with 12 flats above
• benefit from energy efficiency measures including new windows, solar panels and an Air Source Heat Pump

The new rooftop was the venue as Leader of West Suffolk Council, Cllr John Griffiths, and Cabinet Member for Growth Cllr Susan Glossop, joined representatives of Barnes Construction, their appointed architects Concertus Design and Property Consultants, and structural engineers Superstructures, to mark the progress that is being made.

Cllr Griffiths said: “It is fantastic to see not just the rooftop views but the progress that has been made on what we see as another very important investment in the town centre. This project, which has had near unanimous support, demonstrates our continuing commitment and confidence in the future of the town centre as a place people work, live or visit. We have of course lived under the shadow of the pandemic but it is good to see that people are now getting back out to shop, to meet for coffee, to go to restaurants and to enjoy some of the wonderful leisure, culture and heritage attractions that Bury St Edmunds has to offer.”

The Cornhill redevelopment helps deliver on some of the 8000 public comments that shaped the town centre masterplan in 2017 and received public backing at an exhibition of concept drawings held the following year. The Council has also sought the feedback of town centre partners in shaping the final designs.

Cllr Susan Glossop, Cabinet Member for Growth said: “I am thrilled to see this redevelopment moving ever closer to completion. It is an ambitious project, and I would like to thank all the members of the public that helped shape this through the masterplan and the public exhibition. I would also like to thank our town centre partners who we have engaged with as we worked on and finalised the designs. It is exciting and we’d like to thank residents and businesses for bearing with us through any disruption caused.”

Mark Bailey, Director at Barnes Construction said: “We are delighted to be working with West Suffolk Council as its trusted construction partner on this exciting and technically challenging town centre project. When completed later this summer, we are confident the building will be well received, and provide a significantly improved link between the historic town centre and the arc.”

New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership was awarded £32.1m through the Government’s Getting Building Fund, including £2.75m for the Cornhill project.

C-J Green, Chair of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Supporting the redevelopment of our city and town centres and making them attractive places for businesses, shoppers and visitors is going to play a key role in our economic recovery. Part of a region-wide growth programme, these improvements will revitalise the town centre and drive footfall, particularly between the historic part of the town and the Arc shopping centre.”

For more on the project visit www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/cornhill

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