April 08, 2021

Tower crane changes skyline of Bury St Edmunds town centre

A milestone in the redevelopment of the former Post Office on Cornhill is taking place this week with the installation of an 18-metre-high tower crane.

St Andrews Street South between Woolhall Street and Brentgovel Street was closed to allow the tower crane to be delivered to site in sections using articulated low loaders. A smaller 35-tonne mobile crane has been used to lift and land the sections to form the tower. The slewing ring and cab were then put in while the main jib, which is 40 metres long, was craned in and assembled.

The Terrex Comedil Luffing Jib tower crane will now form part of the Bury St Edmunds skyline for the next seven months and marks a pivotal stage in the redevelopment of the former Post Office, which is being carried out by Suffolk firm Barnes Construction on behalf of West Suffolk Council.

Barnes is working with its appointed architects, Concertus Design and Property Consultants and structural engineers, Superstructures, to deliver the complex scheme. A six-metre square, one and a half metre deep, concrete base has been installed to enable the tower crane to take up its new home.

The tower crane will be used to lift the components needed to assemble the steel frame, as well as lifting in all the masonry, plasterboard and heavy materials needed to complete construction.



When completed in Summer 2022, the building will still have its Victorian façade, but behind the frontage, the building will provide new purpose-built ground floor commercial units with 12 flats above. Commercial floor space will be reconfigured to allow Market Thoroughfare, a walkway between the historic town centre and the arc shopping centre, to be widened by over 50 per cent, while a new commercial frontage is also being created onto St Andrews Street South. This will help connect the arc and the Cornhill and Buttermarket area as one coherent town centre and ensure maximum footfall between the two areas. The investment will also deliver on some of the aspirations of the town centre masterplan shaped by 8,000 public comments and adopted by the Council in 2017.

Mark Bailey, Director for Barnes Construction said: “We are pleased to have been entrusted to redevelop this important site on Cornhill to become a long-term asset for the town. A key aspect for us throughout the build is that we work with the local business community and retailers, to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum and the project goes as smoothly as possible. So, it is great news that the tower crane is up before the town hopefully opens back up on the 12th of April.”

Julie Baird, West Suffolk Council’s Director for Growth said: “This is another important construction milestone within our project. We are pleased with progress on site, this represents such a positive signal for business and investors at a time when businesses are planning to reopen. Our investment is one in the long-term future of the town centre, with Bury St Edmunds being a place people will continue to come to for shopping, to eat or drink, relax, socialise, as well as enjoy other leisure and cultural events and activities such as those we hold in The Apex, as part of our markets, and in the Abbey Gardens.”