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Planning permission approved for Bury St Edmunds Western Way £130m public services hub after technical agreements reached



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Plans for a new multi-million pound public services hub in Bury St Edmunds have moved a step closer after technical agreements around roads funding have been agreed.

It means formal planning permission notice has finally been delivered, following the backing of West Suffolk Council’s planning committee in August 2020.

The hub, estimated to cost somewhere between £91million and £132m, will bring together public bodies like council, police, health, library and Citizens Advice services under one roof at the former depot site in Olding Road, as well as a new leisure centre and business space.

An artist impression of what the inside of the new Bury St Edmunds public services hub could look like. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL (54024949)
An artist impression of what the inside of the new Bury St Edmunds public services hub could look like. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL (54024949)

The substantive work on the planning application was carried out in 2020 and agreed by the council’s planning committee that August, with work on technical details and financial agreements known as Section 106 having been worked on since that time.

Formal planning permission could only be issued once those were complete, with a decision notice being issued on December 23.

A West Suffolk Council spokesman said: “We are pleased to have completed the important highways work with the county council on this vital project which will make it easier for people to access a range of services, both public and commercial as well as enjoying greater benefits.

Latest artist impression images of what the new Western Way public services hub in Bury St Edmunds could look like. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL/PICK (54024951)
Latest artist impression images of what the new Western Way public services hub in Bury St Edmunds could look like. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL/PICK (54024951)

“This technical stage ensures that all of the highways and travel requirements of the scheme will be in place before it opens, which means a planning decision notice can be issued to us as applicant.

“We will now look forward to working with all the project partners and stakeholders in 2022 to ensure that phase one of the scheme can continue to meet the financial tests set by councillors and remain on track for opening in 2025.”

A review of the business case was carried out in the summer in light of the the Covid-19 pandemic, with the council re-affirming its commitment to the scheme.

Latest artist impression images of what the new Western Way public services hub in Bury St Edmunds could look like. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL/PICK EVERARD (54024941)
Latest artist impression images of what the new Western Way public services hub in Bury St Edmunds could look like. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL/PICK EVERARD (54024941)

It is set to be delivered in phases – phase one featuring around 3,250 square metres of health space; 2,000sqm of commercial office space – around a third of what has been granted planning consent, and 2,500sqm of public sector space – roughly half of that granted in the full planning permission.