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Scared of heights? Try scaling the crane tower in Bury St Edmunds town centre




Anyone who has been in the centre of Bury St Edmunds will have seen the crane currently residing over the Cornhill.

Not many, though, will have the opportunity to climb it. And it is certainly not for the faint-hearted, as I found out.

The redevelopment of the Cornhill site, which is being carried out by Barnes Construction on behalf of West Suffolk Council, is due to include two ground floor business units, with 12 flats being built on the floors above.

Ben with crane operator Kristy Wright. Picture by Mark Westley.
Ben with crane operator Kristy Wright. Picture by Mark Westley.

Work has been progressing gradually on the building, and is due to be completed in summer 2022.

The crane was added to the town’s skyline in April earlier this year, and stands at 18-metres high.

For somebody who is not particularly keen on heights, this was not going to be an enjoyable climb.

Views towards the British Sugar factory.
Views towards the British Sugar factory.

After being equipped with safety equipment, I was greeted by Kristy, the crane driver. In a predominantly male dominated industry - just 298,000 women made up the construction workforce in 2020 - Kristy has been working as an operator for 12 years.

The tower is surrounded by the building structure, making the climb slightly more comforting. As I edged closer towards the top, though, the views across the town skyline demonstrated one of the biggest challenges of the job.

The toughest part of the climb up was the slew ring - navigating the tiny gap was a claustrophobic’s nightmare.

Reaching the top was a relief, albeit a rather daunting one. The views across the town were outstanding, with views stretching as far as the eye could see.

Suffolk News reporter, Ben Robinson, climbing the crane in Cornhill, Bury St Edmunds, which is part of the post office redevelopment. Picture by Mark Westley.
Suffolk News reporter, Ben Robinson, climbing the crane in Cornhill, Bury St Edmunds, which is part of the post office redevelopment. Picture by Mark Westley.

The British Sugar factory, on Hollow Road, became a compatriot in the sky, rather than another dwarfing figure in the Bury St Edmunds skyline, as did St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

Pedestrians populating the Cornhill and St Andrew’s Street South turned to ant-like figures.

The crane is expected to remain on site until late October/early November.

Suffolk News reporter Ben Robinson at the top of crane on the Cornhill, Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mark Westley.
Suffolk News reporter Ben Robinson at the top of crane on the Cornhill, Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mark Westley.
The views overlooking the Cornhill in Bury St Edmunds.
The views overlooking the Cornhill in Bury St Edmunds.
Overlooking the town centre. Picture by Mark Westley.
Overlooking the town centre. Picture by Mark Westley.
Suffolk News reporter, Ben, with the crane crew, alongside the site manager. Picture by Mark Westley.
Suffolk News reporter, Ben, with the crane crew, alongside the site manager. Picture by Mark Westley.
Overlooking Bury St Edmunds, facing towards St Edmundsbury Cathedral. (49666980)
Overlooking Bury St Edmunds, facing towards St Edmundsbury Cathedral. (49666980)
The view from the top of the crane. (49675323)
The view from the top of the crane. (49675323)
Overlooking the arc shopping centre (49675319)
Overlooking the arc shopping centre (49675319)

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