The redevelopment of a former Bury St Edmunds post office has begun as part of the local council’s investment into the future of its high street.
The £8.4 million regeneration project at 17-18 Cornhill will see the rear of the building completely demolished, and replaced by 12 flats and two commercial units, while the Victorian front will be retained.
Property, construction and infrastructure consultancy Perfect Circle has been appointed by West Suffolk Council to provide quantity surveying, project management and structural, civil, mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as architectural advisory services for the scheme.
This project was procured via the SCAPE Consultancy, a direct award framework which drives collaboration, efficiency, time and cost savings on construction projects.
Victoria Brambini, Managing Director of Perfect Circle, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the regeneration of this site and can truly appreciate the importance of the historic front of this building and its preservation for the local community.
“The frontage is iconic in Bury St Edmunds as it has been home to the town’s post office for more than 100 years, so we’re glad we can help to bring it back to economic use.
“Not only will we be working to preserve the post office’s historic front, but we will also be helping to improve the master planning of the town centre by joining together two of its most popular shopping destinations.”
The project will improve links between the historic town centre and the contemporary arc shopping centre by widening the adjoining walkway by more than 50%, which will increase footfall between the two sites and will improve the visitor experience.
West Suffolk Council secured £2.75 million in government investment, which provides cost certainty for the redevelopment. Managing a strict budget has been a key part of Perfect Circle’s role.
Paul Darlow, Regional Lead for the East of England at Perfect Circle, said: “One of the main challenges we have experienced with this project so far was creating a design that met the client’s brief, was visually cohesive with the rest of the town centre, and kept within the budget of the scheme.
“However, we have worked closely with the client’s architectural consultants to create a design that not only meets these requirements, but also perpetuates a new legacy that will stay with Bury St Edmunds for years to come.”
Councillor John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “It is a challenging time for our residents, businesses and indeed the council, but we are continuing to invest in the long-term future of West Suffolk and Bury St Edmunds town centre as a place of economic, social and cultural activity.
“Furthermore, we are delivering on what people asked for when they helped to shape the vision for the town centre in the masterplan in 2017.
“Once completed this will deliver so much, including a better and wider walkway between the arc and the historic town centre, as well as a new commercial frontage onto St Andrews St South and improved access to the historic Cornhill front.”
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