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Plans for Western Way Development including new Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre set to go out for public consultation

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Plans for an ambitious public sector hub combining leisure, police, NHS and education services in Bury St Edmunds are set to go out for public feedback within the next couple of weeks.

Last year an outline business case was drawn up for the development of the old depot in Olding Road, that will incorporate Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre, advice and support services like Citizens Advice, West Suffolk College space, police and NHS services.

It aims to be the next ‘public sector hub’ similar to that being built in Mildenhall.

Western Way Development. Picture: Pick Everard. (13216255)
Western Way Development. Picture: Pick Everard. (13216255)

During Friday’s Suffolk Public Sector Leaders gathering of council leaders and chief executives, it emerged there are feasibility studies now taking place for similar hubs in Haverhill, Clare, Newmarket and Brandon.

Funding of £100,000 was approved for the next stage of the work, which will go out to public consultation in the next few weeks.

West Suffolk Council leader John Griffiths said: “Western Way is a huge and very ambitious project right here.

“If successful it will transform the way public services and the private sector delivers and makes services better value for money, and more joined up.”

It is a part of the national One Public Estate programme where public services are encouraged to share space.

Alex Wilson from the project said: “Western Way is very much at its infancy, and this [consultation] would look to take us to the next level.”

Mr Wilson said having public services sharing a space would unlock other sites for regeneration in Bury.

A full business case is expected to be published this autumn with a 2023 opening date eyed for the development, which will link up to West Suffolk House council offices.

Artist sketches were released in October last year when the plans were first mooted, with further artist impressions expected to be published as part of this summer’s public consultation.

A firm date for when the consultation will launch has not yet been given.

The report presented to leaders said many public sector buildings in Bury were not suitable for future use, and added: “The proposed Western Way development in Bury St Edmunds will be a radical exemplar of co-location of public services through a regeneration project.”