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Bury St Edmunds: Traders hope Cupola House scaffolding will be removed as soon as possible

12:00 10 January 2014

Local shop owners reaction to the anticipated completion date of February 2015 for the Cupola House works in Bury St Edmunds.

Local shop owners reaction to the anticipated completion date of February 2015 for the Cupola House works in Bury St Edmunds.

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Traders who are still feeling the impact of a serious fire in their street in summer 2012 want to avoid the potential of a third Christmas with scaffolding.

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A number of independent businesses in the Traverse, Bury St Edmunds, are still affected by the aftermath of a devastating blaze at Cupola House, which was home to Strada restaurant, about 18 months ago.

The rebuild of 17th-century Cupola House was due to be complete at the beginning of winter this year, but recently Simon Marks, of architects Purcell, said the anticipated project completion date is February 2015.

Cate Palliser, owner of Scarlet Shoes, said: “The Traverse has really suffered over the last two Christmases and a third Christmas [with scaffolding] would not help the Traverse.”

Loraine Reid, assistant manager of Butterworths health food shop, said they were disappointed work was due to be continuing over this Christmas. “Christmas is a big trade period for a lot of traders here, not especially for us because it’s a trade that’s all-year round.”

Both Ms Palliser and Mrs Reid said they appreciated the task at hand for contractor Seamens Building.

Roger Courtenay-Barrow, owner of Harriets tearooms, said for his business what was crucial was the bulk of the scaffolding was down by the summer so they could put tables and chairs out in the Traverse.

He said their insurance for loss of trade would not cover this summer, which could have a “significant” financial impact.

Mark Cordell, chief executive of business improvement district (BID) Ourburystedmunds, said he was delighted the building work would start on Monday, but was “concerned” it had already taken more than 18 months to get to this stage. He said he hoped the contractor would do all they could to ensure traders whose Christmas trading had been considerably affected over the past two festive seasons would not have to go through this again.

Mr Marks said: “Every endeavour has been made to minimise the extent of the scaffolding, and it will be removed as soon as project progress allows.”

He said the scaffolding was essential so that the remaining fabric of the building - particularly the front façade - could be protected and prevented from further deterioration and was also to protect the public.

He said they were doing everything they could to ensure the building was restored in good time, but it required extensive repair work which could not be rushed.

Measures to minimise disruption include the main access for the site being from Skinner Street and regular meetings with Traverse traders.

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