Plans to unite public services with enterprise space to create a revolutionary ‘public service village’ in Bury St Edmunds have received crucial backing from local councillors.
Members of St Edmundsbury Borough Council have approved an outline business case for the proposed regeneration of the 15-acre Western Way development, as well as approving funding for project partners to prepare a final business case for the £100-£125m scheme.
The council has appointed Perfect Circle – a company that delivers the broadest range of consultancy services available to the public sector – to provide full, multi-disciplinary services for this stage of the project under the national One Public Estate Programme.
The vision for the development comprises a new £25m leisure centre – including an eight-lane 25m swimming pool – and a building to house public services such as a health centre, advice centre, police, councils and community and educational services, together with significant space for commercial businesses. Student accommodation for West Suffolk College is also planned.
Victoria Brambini, managing director at Perfect Circle, said: “We are very proud to be working on the redevelopment of Western Way, which is ground-breaking in how it will deliver public services to the community. This is a significant project for the region and is part of a long-term vision for the area that will also attract investment and create jobs.”
The team has been working on the project for two years following their work on the original site master plan and delivery of phase one, West Suffolk House; producing master planning options, project costs and supporting the outline business case.
Victoria added: “The plans will give the opportunity for radical regeneration, transform how services are provided and produce better outcomes for residents. The public service building will include an internal ‘street’ and a large, shared reception area, which will link offices, an advice centre, meeting spaces, leisure centre, health centre and cafe. By sharing purpose-built and flexible facilities, partners will be able to save on their running costs. It will also strengthen existing links between services and forge new ones.”
The final business case is expected to be presented to the new West Suffolk Council and public sector partners in summer 2019, with plans to open the first phase of the development in 2023.
John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “The Western Way Development will be another step change in the way that public services are delivered in West Suffolk, as well as the chance for public, private and voluntary sectors to work together in new and more affordable ways. There is a long way to go, but the council is pleased to continue to work with Perfect Circle on bringing forward this bold and exciting scheme, building on their work over the last two years.”
Perfect Circle was appointed for the scheme via the Scape National Built Environment Consultancy Services (BECS) framework, which provides the broadest range of consultancy services available to the public sector.