Ruffley Pushes For More Support For Bury St Edmunds Heritage: New Athenaeum Bid

Wednesday, 2 July, 2003

David Ruffley is supporting the bid by St Edmunsbury Borough Council for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to refurbish the Athenaeum in the town.

A copy of David's letter is follows.

David said: "As Patron of the Bury St Edmunds Town Trust I am a great supporter of the town's heritage and wholeheartedly support the Borough Council in this important project. The Athenaeum is an outstanding building which plays an important role in the life of the town. Many significant and memorable events- for example, the Queen's Jubilee visit last year- have taken place under its roof and we must not allow is to fall into disrepair."

Text Of David's Letter:

30th June 2003

Mr Mark Dykes
Casework Manager
Heritage Lottery Fund - East of England
Kett House
Station Road
Cambridge CB1 2JT

Athenaeum, Bury St Edmunds Refurbishment: your ref: HF-03-50260

I understand that St Edmundsbury Borough Council has submitted an application for funding to refurbish the Athenaeum and I am writing to you to add my support for this application. As Patron of the Bury St Edmunds Town Trust, I have a particular interest in heritage issues and attach a high priority to them. I believe that this project is especially deserving of support for the following reasons:

ŒÂ The Athenaeum is an outstanding Grade I listed building in a prominent position in the heart of a well-preserved historic town.

ŒÂ It has played an important role as a social centre for the local community for nearly 300 years, a role it continues to fulfil to this day. It has a real practical function.

ŒÂ It is a much-loved building: many of my constituents have celebrated important family occasions there.

ŒÂ It is a very prestigious building, increasingly used for regional events, and it was the venue for the Queen's lunch when she visited Suffolk last year.

ŒÂ Many of the people who use the Athenaeum are elderly, and this project will improve their access to the building: at the moment, anyone in a wheelchair cannot reach the first floor.

ŒÂ The modesty of the building's appearance belies its historic and architectural importance. This project will both improve its appearance and provide interpretation to help visitors appreciate its importance.

ŒÂ The scheme is a sensitive one that respects the building's structure and history and endeavours to restore it to something closer to its original glory.

ŒÂ The increase in space and improvement in facilities and flexibility that this project offers would help ensure that the building has a viable future.

Many of my constituents have raised this key project with me and I have asked the Director of Leisure Services to keep me informed on the progress of this application.

Yours sincerely,

David Ruffley MP