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Plans submitted to convert Bury St Edmunds former drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre Focus12 into restaurant




A former Bury St Edmunds drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre which closed more than two years ago could be converted into a restaurant.

Plans have been drawn up to transform 83 to 87 Risbygate Street, last used by Focus12 which shut in August 2018.

The proposals, submitted to West Suffolk Council by Mr M Pagliuca, would convert the Grade II listed office building into a restaurant.

Plans have been submitted for 83 to 87 Risbygate Street, which was last used by Focus12
Plans have been submitted for 83 to 87 Risbygate Street, which was last used by Focus12

Agent Whitworth obtained planning and listed building consent in 2019 to convert the premises into two houses but no works were started due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A heritage, design and access statement said the building has been 'up for let constantly' throughout the more than two and a half years it has stood empty.

"With buildings such as this, it is important to maintain, air and ventilate adequately, something that is less likely to be undertaken whilst it remains unoccupied," it said.

The statement said although permission was granted to turn the building into two houses, an 'enquiry came in with regards to letting the building, with the potential of it becoming a restaurant'.

"The building owner was keen for this because it meant that the structure would need far fewer alterations, minimal in fact, and it would enable the building to continue having a commercial presence within the town," it said.

It added that 'none of the remaining historic fabric of the building will be damaged by the proposed works, with minimal changes required to facilitate a proposed restaurant'.

The statement noted the Suffolk Heritage Explorer website records 83 Risbygate was Risbygate Brewery, purportedly established in 1839 and owned by Clarke Brothers.

It also records that 86 to 87 Risbygate were at one time the offices of H Braham & Co, Scrap Merchants.

Focus12 helped more than 1,000 people beat addiction over 21 years with comedian Russell Brand among its former clients.

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