Businessman purchases former Sudbury post office building with goal of creating hub for new start-ups
The sale of Sudbury’s former post office building, which has been empty for two years, has been finalised, with its new owner hoping to use the space to attract new small businesses to the town.
Local businessman and property developer Barry Drury confirmed to the Free Press this week that he had purchased the disused premises in East Street, which was vacated in November 2016 after the Post Office franchised out its Sudbury branch to WH Smith on Market Hill.
Mr Drury, who owns numerous businesses in the town through his property management firm Barry Drury Investments, now intends to convert the structure into approximately five business units, to serve as a form of ‘start-up hub’.
He explained the building, while up for sale, had initially been marketed as premises suited for a large business, but his aim for the development is instead to offer a base for new start-ups that are concerned by the rising overheads faced by high street businesses.
“I would like to be able to attract new people into the town, to help them start up and get going,” said Mr Drury, who has been involved with businesses in the area for the last 50 years.
“Big is not always beautiful. Most of the big properties in the town are owned by big companies. They have too much overheads for a start-up to get going with.
“Retail is quite bad at the moment, and it has got worse in the last five to 10 years, with online shopping taking over.
“It’s in the news all the time that towns around the country are dying. It’s hard work for everybody running small businesses.
“Hopefully, this might attract people who are looking for a low rent and a good position in the town.”
Mr Drury added that he is eager to get the development going as soon as possible, subject to receiving formal permission from Babergh District Council’s planning committee.
This comes as the Government announced in its budget statement this week that it will be cutting business rates for small shops by a third for two years.
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge tweeted on Tuesday: “Really pleased by the announcement on business rates in today’s budget.
“Every week another perfectly good south Suffolk business gets in touch because they are being clobbered with higher rates, yet not making higher turnover – and certainly not higher profits. It’s very welcome help.”