Community leaders are 'keen to learn more' about what will become of redundant town centre buildings amid Greene King plans for a new state-of-the-art £40million brewery.

Greene King has unveiled plans to construct a new facility next to its distribution centre at Suffolk Park in Bury St Edmunds.

The move, which is slated for completion in 2027, will see its brewing operations move from the current Westgate Brewery when it is completed.

East Anglian Daily Times: The move is slated for completion in 2027The move is slated for completion in 2027 (Image: Greene King)

Diane Hind, who represents Tollgate ward on West Suffolk Council, and is also town mayor, said: "I welcome the commitment to the town and the job security for employees that this news brings. 

"It is clear that the owners appreciate and value the history that underpins Greene King in Bury St Edmunds, and I hope they enjoy more centuries of success in Bury.

"I believe they plan to maintain part of the operation in the town centre, but I’m keen to learn more about their plans for buildings that will become redundant, as it is important that the character of the area is maintained."

East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr Diane HindCllr Diane Hind (Image: West Suffolk Council)

Julia Wakelam, who represents Abbeygate ward on West Suffolk Council, said she was 'delighted' that Greene King had decided to invest in the town and that it was 'good news' for the community. 

"My second thought on hearing that welcome news was what is to happen to the town centre brewery when the new plant is up and running," she continued.

"I lived for over 20 years in St Mary’s Square which borders the brewery and I know it well.  Those buildings - and the smell of brewing – is woven into our lives. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr Julia WakelamCllr Julia Wakelam (Image: West Suffolk Council)

"They are an integral part of the fabric of our town and of our history and an important and handsome part of the street scene. I do hope that they will all be preserved." 

She said she could envisage the brewhouse as apartments, although parking could be an issue, or perhaps a museum or art gallery. 

She welcomed the Greene King proposal of a full consultation with the community and said: "I look forward to the dialogue."

Greene King has been brewing at the Westgate Brewery for more than 200 years, with a brewery at the site since 1700. 

However, brewing within the town can be traced as far back as the days of the Doomsday book. 

The gravity-fed brewhouse at the Westgate site was built in 1938 and the same building, along with much of its original equipment, is still used to this day. 

The brewery still draws water from chalk wells under the brewery that have been used for brewing for almost 1,000 years. 

In November 2013, Greene King opened a microbrewery in Bury St Edmunds.

Martyn Taylor, of the Bury Society, said that, with a lot of imagination the 1939 Brewhouse could become flats. 

He continued: "The various sites, off Cullum Road, Crown Street, Bridewell Lane, top of Maynewater Lane and Westgate Street itself are what Americans would call “valuable real estate” and consideration would have to be given what would be able to be built on these sites.  

"Also Greene King has a portfolio of housing such as Maynewater Square and along Crown Street no doubt they would retain ownership of them.

"They also have a very popular ‘Beer Café’ which I would think they would like to retain.

"Who knows, these are very early days yet," he added.

Nick Mackenzie, chief executive officer at Greene King, said: “Brewing in Bury St Edmunds is a core part of Greene King’s DNA.

"This investment represents a further and significant ongoing commitment to our brewing operations in a town which has such a rich and storied connection with our business and with brewing.

"As we seek to make our operations more sustainable, our new brewery will future proof our ability to brew our much-loved brands, as we create a thriving modern hospitality business."