Construction on a major redevelopment, delivering on public aspirations for the future of Bury St Edmunds town centre, has seen one of the aims already achieved.
West Suffolk Council acquired the former Post Office site at 17-18 Cornhill after the Post Office relocated its business. In line with the 8000 public comments that shaped the town centre masterplan, it has been working to create a new commercial frontage to St Andrews Street South, a wider walkway in Market Thoroughfare and to keep and protect the Victorian Cornhill frontage while improving access.
Barnes Construction, working with its structural engineers, Superstructures, and its architects Concertus, had the tricky task of keeping the frontage, which is in a conservation area, in place while demolishing the building behind, most of which had been added on at a much later date.
For the past nine months, a façade retention system made up of clamp steel beams fixed onto triangular trusses and a mass of concrete blocks, “a bit like Lego bricks,” has kept the historic Cornhill front in place.
Behind it a steel frame for the new building has been constructed, and with that now cleverly connected to the front via ties and concrete anchors, the façade retention system is now being removed.
While visitors will be able to admire the frontage, it won’t be for long. New scaffolding is going up to allow restoration work to take place alongside the installation of new windows to aid the energy efficiency of the building which will include solar panels for electricity and be heated by an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) using the reversal of a process used to keep food and drink cool in a fridge.
Once completed next year, the build will include two ground floor commercial units with 12 flats above.
For more background on the development, visit www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/cornhill