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A major development delivering integrated public services, leisure, health and education space for Bury St Edmunds

Western Way

This major 17-acre public service village will be a flagship destination, revitalising an urban environment. The objective is to integrate leisure, health, education, and other public services within Bury St Edmunds. An existing depot will be repurposed to form the public service building, alongside a leisure centre and energy centre.

The development will offer a new leisure centre with an integrated health and social care hub, including substantial amounts of employment space, council services, police, an advice centre, voluntary organisations and community and education services, improving public access and service delivery in one high quality environment.

A full business case was delivered to demonstrate viability and a level of cost certainty: it has since been submitted for planning and gained approval.

The council updated the development’s masterplan by re-purposing a 10,000m2 1960s depot building as part of its sustainability objectives, including significant infrastructure improvements. A large area of the site had been excluded in the original masterplan, which the council then purchased. We revised the masterplan, with many option and feasibility studies undertaken to feed into the business case.

Given its size and nature, there were many parties to be consulted to understand needs of multiple stakeholders. The council had to ensure proper due diligence so when making financial commitments they can demonstrate the right consultations, including with Sport England and the Suffolk Highways Authority.

Client and stakeholder consultation resulted in proposals balancing individual needs with the objective of creating a cohesive whole. We consulted with necessary parties and obtained their comments, resulting in the right level of confidence. Public engagement events and questionnaires proved valuable, for example informing alterations to pedestrian links and helping scope the leisure mix. Engagement highlighted key existing components, including a popular skate park which became central in proposals.

Recognising challenges of a multi-tenanted building, we developed a fully integrated services design recognising separate tenants while providing maximum efficiency. With the initial phase being BREEAM Excellent, the site will include significant photovoltaic arrays with battery storage facilities, supplemented in the energy centre by a combined heat and power (CHP) system.

Works included assessment of parking demand, calculation of likely traffic generation, modelling of the local highway network, design of measures to mitigate against congestion, and assessment and design for improved access by sustainable transport. Proposals promote green travel: a key factor for the planning authority. This includes improved pedestrian and cycle links. With the site situated in an industrial area we worked with the landscape architects to break up hard landscaping and increase biodiversity.

Key info

Client

West Suffolk Council

Status

In progress

Design

Architecture, Civil engineering, Building services engineering, Interior design, Sustainability and energy, Structural engineering

Management

Cost and commercial management, Health and safety services

Sector

Education

Location

Bury St Edmunds

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