Western Way Development

Western Way Development - exteriorProposals to deliver a multi-million development at Western Way, Bury St Edmunds could signal new state of the art leisure facilities and a nationally ground breaking way to deliver integrated public services for our communities.

An outline business case was approved in October 2018 to bring together new leisure facilities, health, education and other public services with the commercial sector on one site as envisaged in the 2016 masterplan. A detailed final business case was prepared by the council with partners and was also approved in autumn 2019. Planning consent was approved subject to conditions in August 2020.

Western Way Development -  artist's impression looking towards front entranceThe project is part of a long term vision for the area and would also attract investment and bring jobs, potentially opening within the next five years.

The business case suggests the plans would give the opportunity for radical regeneration, transform how services work and produce better outcomes for residents. At the same time, the new development aims to reduce costs to the public purse and free up other assets in the area.

It is also suggested that the steel frame of the depot on Olding Road is re-used for the new public service building, saving money and natural resources as well as creating a flexible space that can be built in a phased way and will link to West Suffolk House.

Western Way Development artist's impression of front entrance  Now that the planning application has been considered, the council can start the process of trying to unlock further external investment. The next steps will also include a further process of looking at finances before committing to a final scheme: External Assurance Review, December 2019

If the project goes ahead, it also means that the current leisure centre and pool, which needs millions of pounds of improvements before having to be rebuilt anyway, could be moved within the site to integrate with health services, providing extra parking and new facilities, and avoid a long closure period.

Doing nothing is not an option on the site as the leisure centre needs refurbishment and the depot buildings will become empty. In addition, the new site would create opportunities for multiple other partners to join the councils and West Suffolk CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) at the site, in the first or later phases.

Western Way development - pool hallTo date, work on exploring the business case has involved central government, all parts of the NHS, the county council, the Police, Abbeycroft Leisure, West Suffolk College and several other partners under the auspices of the Government’s One Public Estate Programme. Which partners will be part of the first phase of development will be clarified later in 2020-21 as part of final sign-off to start delivery.

You can read the details of the planning application and all the consultation responses on the council's planning webpages. An informal pre-application consultation on the draft designs and transport plans was also held for seven weeks, closing on 10 September 2019. The full results of this consultation, with responses to the comments received, are included with the planning application. These comments helped to inform discussion of the final business case and the planning application was submitted.

More information on the project is contained in the documents: