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Awe and wonder in Bury St Edmunds as future of Post Office frontage secured - quite literally

Only the front wall of a landmark building in Bury St Edmunds remains as work gets under way to transform the structure.

Work on what West Suffolk Council describe as the "façade retention system" is now in place.

And the historic town centre landmark is now nearing the next phase of its development.

The "facade retention system" is now in place. Picture by Mark Westley
The "facade retention system" is now in place. Picture by Mark Westley

Cllr John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “Work on 17-18 Cornhill is progressing well and is scheduled for completion in 2022.

"The façade retention system is in place to protect the historic front while the building behind has been largely demolished ready for the next new build phase.

“Once completed the project will deliver a new commercial frontage onto St Andrews Street South as well as a wider and greatly improved walkway at Market Thoroughfare, improving the link between the arc and the historic town centre.

Phase two of the work will soon begin.
Phase two of the work will soon begin.

The original Cornhill front of the building will be more accessible as well as being brought back into economic use enabling everyone to enjoy and appreciate this important part of the town’s heritage once again.

Barnes Construction is carrying out the work - on behalf of the council - to protect Victoria frontage at 17-18 Cornhill, while the rest of the building, including parts which were added on at a later stage, will be demolished and replaced with two ground floor commercial units and 12 flats above.

The council agreed to invest £8.4m into the project which includes the £1.6m purchase.

Cllr Griffiths also secured an additional £160,000 through Suffolk Public Sector Leaders from the business rates retention pool.

On top of this, the council, following work with the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, secured £2.75m of Government investment from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government into the project.

It has worked with The Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership, The Bury Society, Bury St Edmunds Town Council, Bury St Edmunds Town Trust, Our Bury St Edmunds Business Improvement District, and Suffolk County Council on the project.

* Read more about how the front of the building has been preserved in this week's Bury Free Press (November 27 edition).

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