The future of one of Colchester’s best-known historic buildings has been secured.

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Colchester Borough Council, which own the town’s former clock museum building, known as Tymperleys, have agreed a 125-year lease for the property with Nicholas and Sheila Charrington, who also run Layer Marney Tower.

The husband-and-wife team plan to turn the building into a tea room and venue for drinks parties and weddings, and are offering the public the chance to have a look around the house and gardens later this week before it closes for conversion work.

Interested visitors are invited to turn up at the 15th Century house on Trinity Street either tomorrow or Wednesday from 10am to 4pm when the Charringtons and representatives from Colchester Borough Council will be on hand to answer any questions.

The site will then be closed while the building work takes place with an opening planned for late spring.

Mr Charrington said the Tymperleys deal comes at an exciting time for the town where a number of exciting projects – such as Williams and Griffin regeneration and the proposed Curzon cinema – are already planned.

He said: “The whole process has taken quite a long time, but I believe the outcome is a good one for Colchester and the glorious buildings and garden at Tymperleys. The experience we have gained at Layer Marney Tower will help us in our work – dealing with old buildings requires patience, determination – and awareness that the final bill may well be higher than originally expected.”

Paul Smith, the council’s portfolio holder for business and resources, added: “We believe they [the Charringtons] have the right experience to give the building a new lease of life and increase the town’s offering to residents and visitors.

“I am confident it will be a success.”

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