Home   Bury St Edmunds   News   Article

Milestone for Bury St Edmunds Post Office redevelopment as 18-metre high tower crane assembled




A new addition to the Bury St Edmunds skyline is being assembled with the installation of an 18-metre high tower crane in a 'milestone' for the redevelopment of the former Post Office.

The Terrex Comedil Luffing Jib tower crane will form part of the skyline for the next seven months and is being built in stages today and tomorrow.

It marks a major chapter in the transformation of the former Post Office site, in Cornhill, to build two ground floor business units and 12 flats.

The redevelopment is being carried out by Suffolk firm Barnes Construction on behalf of West Suffolk Council.

Julie Baird, West Suffolk Council’s director for growth, said: "This is another important construction milestone within our project.

"We are pleased with progress on site, this represents such a positive signal for business and investors at a time when businesses are planning to reopen.

The redevelopment of the former Post Office site will include two ground floor business units and 12 flats. Picture: Mark Westley
The redevelopment of the former Post Office site will include two ground floor business units and 12 flats. Picture: Mark Westley

"Our investment is one in the long-term future of the town centre, with Bury St Edmunds being a place people will continue to come to shop, to eat or drink, relax, socialise, as well as enjoy other leisure and cultural events and activities such as those we hold in The Apex, as part of our markets, and in the Abbey Gardens."

St Andrew's Street South, between Woolhall Street and Brentgovel Street, has been shut to allow the tower crane to be delivered in sections using articulated low loaders.

A smaller 35-tonne mobile crane has been used to lift and land the sections to form the tower.

The slewing ring and cab was then due to be attached while the main jib, which is 40 metres long, is due to be installed tomorrow.

The road will remain closed tomorrow to allow for the work to be completed and will reopen on Thursday.

Barnes is working with architects Concertus Design and Property Consultants and structural engineers Superstructures to deliver the scheme.

To enable the tower crane to take up its new home, a six-metre square, one and a half metre deep concrete base has been installed.

It is great news that the tower crane is up before the town hopefully opens back up on the April 12 - Mark Bailey, director for Barnes Construction

Craig Carr, associate at Superstructures, said: "It is imperative that the crane stays in place when it is lifting materials around the site and when it is stationary.

"It will be cantilevering out of the ground, so ensuring its stability to carry the weights and stay upright in all weather conditions is critical.

"To allow this, the tower crane is held in place by a large concrete base, which is supported by piles, and which acts as a counterweight."

The crane will be used to lift the components needed to assemble the building's steel frame, as well as lifting in the masonry, plasterboard and heavy materials needed to complete construction.

When completed in summer 2022, the building will still have its Victorian facade, with the commercial units and flats behind.

The commercial floor space will be designed to allow Market Thoroughfare, a walkway between the historic town centre and the arc shopping centre, to be widened by more than 50 per cent, while a new commercial frontage is also being created in St Andrew's Street South.

Mark Bailey, director for Barnes Construction, said: "We are pleased to have been entrusted to redevelop this important site on Cornhill to become a long-term asset for the town.

"A key aspect for us throughout the build, is that we work with the local business community and retailers, to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum and the project goes as smoothly as possible.

"So, it is great news that the tower crane is up before the town hopefully opens back up on April 12."

Read more: All the latest news from Suffolk

Read more: All the latest news from Bury St Edmunds