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Bury St Edmunds Greggs in Abbeygate Street is a ‘disgrace and an embarrassment’, say campaigners





The deteriorating state of a historic town centre shopfront has been slammed as a disgrace.

Adrian Tindall, chair of Bury St Edmunds Tour Guides, has now called on bakery chain Greggs to urgently repair the building it occupies at 11 Abbeygate Street.

His appeal has been echoed by Martyn Taylor, chair of the Bury Society, which supports the interests of the town, former town councillor, Tom Murray, and Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, which markets the town.

Adrian Tindall, Tom Murray and Martyn Taylor outside Greggs, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mecha Morton
Adrian Tindall, Tom Murray and Martyn Taylor outside Greggs, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mecha Morton

They have dubbed the exterior of the building a ‘disgrace and an embarrassment’.

The Bury Free Press first highlighted complaints about bare and rotting wood, peeling paint, blocked guttering and deteriorating window frames, in March this year.

At the time, the bakery store, housed in a Grade II* listed, late Georgian period building, had been described as ‘Britain’s poshest Greggs’ by a number of national newspapers.

The wood has deteriorated
The wood has deteriorated

There are now fears it may soon be beyond repair – and could be dangerous.

Mr Tindall said: “There has been a rapid deterioration since spring. It is in a disgraceful state.

“We take visitors down Abbeygate Street every day and the Greggs store is housed in one of the most prominent and important buildings in the street.

“It is Grade II* listed, not just Grade II, which means it is particularly significant. Only five per cent of listed buildings are Grade II* and considered of more than special interest.

Peeling paint down the door frame
Peeling paint down the door frame

“It’s embarrassing to see a building of that significance in its current state with still, nothing being done.

“I have occasionally said to visitors, this is what is known as Britain’s poshest Greggs and they have snorted in disbelief.”

“From our perspective, we feel part of our job is promote and support the town and its businesses.

Greggs, shortly after it opened in 1994. Picture: courtesy of Martyn Taylor, Bury Society
Greggs, shortly after it opened in 1994. Picture: courtesy of Martyn Taylor, Bury Society

“Most shop owners and shopkeepers do their very best with the upkeep, and many of these are small independents. It’s shameful a national chain can’t seem to do the same.”

Greggs took over the building from the Bakers Oven in May 1994. It has a second smaller store in Cornhill. Number 11 Abbeygate Street is owned by London-based D&A Limited, and leased to the food chain, according the UK Land Registry.

It is of late Georgian, early 19th Century design, but the interior dates from the 17th Century, and its windows are Gothic.

Paint on the upper floor is peeling and gutters are also blocked
Paint on the upper floor is peeling and gutters are also blocked

Martyn Taylor, chair of the Bury Society, a charity set up to support the town’s interests said: “The lower panels are now in an appalling state. It makes you question when it gets to a certain state, how much can you save, and if any repairs will be consistent with the historic interest.”

Tom Murray, former Bury Town councillor, said: “I have repeatedly called for action from Greggs and sent them pictures and videos. I worry it is dangerous, if the gutters collapse or even the sign falls off.

“Abbeygate Street, with its high-end fashion shops, retailers, jewellers, and restaurants, is Bury St Edmunds’ equivalent of London’s Bond Street. Yet, we have this disgrace right in the middle of it.”

Bare and rotting wood has left a hole
Bare and rotting wood has left a hole

Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, which markets the town, said: “It would be great if the appearance could be improved in the near future’.

Tour guide Mr Tindall has called on West Suffolk Council for support.

A spokesman for the council said: “Greggs had appointed a maintenance company and a contractor was scheduled to carry out works in the summer.

“Unfortunately that work didn’t happen but a new contractor has been appointed and we are speaking to the maintenance company to get a start date.”

A spokesperson for Greggs said: "We are committed to repairing the shop and will provide an update on this in due course."