Bury St Edmunds public services hub to get final seal of approval

Artist impression image of what the new Western Way public services hub in Bury St Edmunds could look like. Picture: WEST...

What the Western Way hub could look like - Credit: West Suffolk Council/Pick Everar

The final updated business case for a multi-million pound public services hub in Bury St Edmunds is to be agreed next month.

The Western Way hub is set to be constructed on the Olding Way depot building and bring together public service organisations such as West Suffolk Council, police, NHS services and education provision, alongside commercial space and leisure and gym facilities.

The £110million project had been progressing on schedule until the Covid-19 pandemic hit, prompting West Suffolk Council in November to agree to a fresh look at the business case to ensure it was still viable.

An artist impression of what the new Western Way public services hub could look like. Picture: WEST

An artist impression of the Western Way hub - Credit: West Suffolk Council

That is set to be completed in early June, and will now be brought forward to full council on June 22 for final approval for the project to continue.

The pandemic has meant the scheme is a year behind schedule, and unlikely to be completed until 2024.

Joanna Rayner, Conservative cabinet member for leisure, culture and community hubs, told Tuesday night's cabinet meeting: "We were on track at the time the pandemic struck.

Councillor Joanna Rayner said the parks provided social and health benefits. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Joanna Rayner, cabinet member for leisure, tourism and community hubs at West Suffolk Council - Credit: Gregg Brown

"We had a final business case approved, the depot buildings about to be fully vacated and a planning application submitted.

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"However, Covid hit and there have been some impacts as a result of that. There have been some impacts but it's not all negative.

"It has allowed partners to think about how they might use the space, and really solidified why the Western Way development is such a good development for us to go forward.

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"We have got continued support from all partners, and a scheme that can now be delivered in phases."

Latest artist impression images of what the new Western Way public services hub in Bury St Edmunds c

A CGI design for what the Western Way hub could look like - Credit: West Suffolk Council/Pick Everard

While the final list of organisations set to occupy space there is to be approved in future, target services will include those already in place at the council's West Suffolk House base, a new leisure centre, large NHS community health facility, commercial office provision, shared advice centre and a skatepark.

Other phases in future could also include a new pre-school and student accommodation.

Plans to open up the new Mildenhall hub by 24 May

The Western Way public services village will follow the Mildenhall Hub development - Credit: West Suffolk Council

The plans follow the £39m Mildenhall Hub model featuring council services, swimming pools, gym and sports facilities, library, health centre, children's centre and job centre.

Council leader John Griffiths said Mildenhall "shows what can be done by imaginative working with excellent partners".

West Suffolk Council leader John Griffiths said the Western Way hub would be nationally innovative.

West Suffolk Council leader John Griffiths said the public services hubs showed what could be achieved with imaginative thinking - Credit: MARIAM GHAEMI

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