A project to deliver improvements in the heart of Bury St Edmunds town centre will be considered by councillors over the coming months.
Following extensive interest, St Edmundsbury Borough Council has now appointed Donald Insall Associates, based in Chester, as architects for a project to refurbish and extend the former Post Office, in Cornhill.
A business case and proposals will come before the council’s cabinet to consider in early April and if approved full council will be recommended to approve funding in late April.
The architects have been asked to develop proposals that keep the historic Victorian front, respecting the town’s heritage while also bringing it back into economic use, but also delivers on two key aspirations of the town centre masterplan.
Councillor Alaric Pugh, cabinet member for Planning and Growth at St Edmundsbury, said: “The masterplan was shaped by what the public had to say last year. One of the major aspirations is about how we better integrate the Arc with the Cornhill and Buttermarket areas of the town centre.
“St Andrews Street South and Market Thoroughfare are key to this. The purchase of 17-18 Cornhill by the council, although not a masterplan aspiration in itself, offers the opportunity to explore potential for a new shop front onto St Andrews Street South which we hope will open the eyes to other landowners and investors as to what can be achieved there. Equally we will not simply be investing to gain the maximum financial return, but to deliver social and economic improvements to the area. As part of this, working with Donald Insall Associates, we are aiming for some very real improvements to the look and feel of Market Thoroughfare.
“Had we not acted and invested in the purchase of this building, the council would have little or no control over these outcomes.”
The council worked with a range of key partners on the town centre masterplan including Bury St Edmunds Town Council, Suffolk County Council, the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in Bury St Edmunds, OurBuryStEdmunds Business Improvement District, the market traders, Bury Society and the Bury Town Trust.
It will continue to work with these partners on this and other projects relating to the masterplan.
Tanvir Hasan, deputy chairman of Donald Insall Associates, said: “We are delighted to have been selected to work with St Edmundsbury Borough Council on this exciting town centre project. We will now assist them in preparing proposals which will form part of the business case for investment to be considered by Cabinet in early April.”