Planning permission has been granted for a multi-million-pound ‘public service development’ at Western Way, Bury St Edmunds — designed to unite public services with enterprising space.
The 17-acre development will provide a nationally ground-breaking way to deliver integrated public services for its communities, as part of a network of existing and planned ‘hub’ projects in West Suffolk.
The development will offer a new, state-of-the-art leisure centre with an integrated health and social care hub, including large amounts of new employment space, council services, police, an advice centre, voluntary organisations, and community and education services, all located within one building, improving public access, service delivery and efficiency.
As well as offering opportunities for multiple other partners to join the scheme under the auspices of the Government’s One Public Estate programme, the project will repurpose a 10,000m2, 1960s depot building as part of its sustainability objectives, including significant infrastructure improvements and while further work will take place on a green travel plan with the emphasis being on reducing car travel.
The plans were approved by West Suffolk Council at a committee meeting last week. A full range of services will be undertaken by built environment consultancy Pick Everard — operating under Perfect Circle’s unique collaboration, which works exclusively on Scape Group’s Built Environment Consultancy Services (BECS) framework — including architecture, building service, structural and civil engineering, quantity surveying, sustainability including BREEAM, BIM, highways engineering, interior design, and health and safety.
Paul Darlow, Regional Lead for East Anglia at Perfect Circle, who is also Regional Director at Pick Everard, said: “We are really pleased to receive planning permission for the redevelopment of Western Way. This is set to be a significant project for the region and will form part of the long-term vision to create jobs and attract investment to the area.”
The team has been working on the project since 2016, following their work on the original masterplan and delivery of phase one, West Suffolk House, in 2009; producing master planning options, project costs and supporting the business case, which were presented in 2019.
Over this period, the team has been providing a large range of services to deliver this second phase, including architecture, building services, structural and civil engineering, quantity surveying, sustainability including BREEAM, BIM, highways engineering, interior design, landscape and health and safety.
Victoria Brambini, Managing Director at Perfect Circle, commented: “This latest step in the Western Way development has been a long time in the making, following several years of hard work alongside the council to bring this ambitious concept together and create detailed plans for the public service development.”
Councillor John Griffiths, Leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “We are pleased that another important step has been taken along the way to deliver another ground-breaking initiative in West Suffolk. Not only will people be able to access health, leisure, education and public services on one site, but it shows that working together across the public sector in new ways can bring greater benefits to health and wellbeing. We are now looking forward to working with our partners to consider the next stages of delivering this long-term and exciting project, which if anything, recent events have shown is even more needed than ever”.
Councillor Jo Rayner, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Community Hubs, added: “Western Way is part of the way public sector partners in Suffolk are working across traditional boundaries to improve outcomes for our communities. Mildenhall Hub is another such project nearing completion which brings services together in one place so people can benefit from a more holistic approach to their needs, such as having complementary facilities and expert advice, such as health and leisure, together in one place.”
Perfect Circle, comprising Pick Everard, Gleeds and AECOM, was appointed for the scheme via Scape Group’s National Built Environment Consultancy Services (BECS) framework, which provides the broadest range of consultancy services available to be public sector.