St Edmundsbury Borough Council's purchase of empty Haverhill High Street building is an 'investment' in the town
An empty building in a key position on Haverhill High Street could be a catalyst for growth, following its purchase by St Edmundsbury Council.
The former HSBC building has been empty for two years.
The council has bought the freehold interest for a total cost of £376,400, giving direct control of an important High Street location and potential for revenue to deliver valued council services.
Cllr John Griffiths, Leader of St Edmundsbury Council said: “Haverhill’s potential is being realised thanks to both this council’s commitment to invest in our communities and to the town’s backing of its town centre masterplan.
“This strategic purchase will deliver a key masterplan objective to improve the relationship between the High Street and leisure quarter.
“It will raise the quality and attractiveness of pedestrian walkways between the two, and provide income to help deliver valued council services.”
The purchase is part of the council’s investment strategy of not only bringing an income to support services but also bring wider economic and social benefits to an area.
The potential for redevelopment includes opening a wider pedestrian corridor by repositioning ground floor retail units, to create a better link between the leisure quarter and the high street.
This will be considered in a feasibility study with any proposals subject to councillor approval.
Whilst the options for re-development are appraised, interim uses will be sought both to help support the local community and provide a return to help cover holding costs.
Cllr Susan Glossop, St Edmundsbury Cabinet member for Planning and Growth said: “The high street is changing and Haverhill is ahead of the game in having a shared vision, expressed in its town centre masterplan.
“This council investment will support economic growth and act as a catalyst to encourage further investment and development by the private sector.
“I look forward to sharing the design for what will be an effective regeneration scheme.’
John Mayhew, Chair of the ONE Haverhill Partnership overseeing delivery of the town centre masterplan said: “This is a further vote of confidence in Haverhill and another step in fulfilling its potential as the county’s fourth largest town.
“The influence this investment in the town centre has with the private sector shouldn’t be underestimated.
“Haverhill has energy and a great sense of purpose, and key investments like this make it even more attractive.”