September 2 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, May 31, 2014
The new owner of the Jumbo water tower in Colchester said he was shocked to get the landmark building for such a bargain.
Paul Flatman, from Wormingford, bought the Grade II*-listed tower for £190,000 at an auction in London on Thursday.
But Mr Flatman said he had only gone to the auction to have a “nose” and not to buy Jumbo.
He said: “It was a bit of a shock. I didn’t realise it would be such a reasonable price, because I knew the previous owner [George Braithwaite] and that he paid more than £300,000 for it.
“I didn’t go with the intention of buying it, it is quite unusual.”
Mr Flatman, a poultry farmer who also does property development, said he hoped to work with both Colchester Borough Council (CBC) planners and the Balkerne Tower Trust (BTT) charity to bring Jumbo back into use.
“There were previous plans which were only narrowly turned down for flats and a restaurant, and that sort of idea seems very good,” he said.
“It is a question of sitting down with CBC to iron out any problems with the previous application. I will always talk to the BTT but whether I agree is another matter.
“At the end of the day something needs to be done with it, otherwise it will end up in disrepair. Something needs to happen fairly soon to get the area tidied up.
“The initial plan is to get planning permission, hopefully, and then go from there.”
Jumbo water tower has been named as one of the 10 most at-risk buildings in the UK by the Victorian Society.
Built in the 1880s, Jumbo ended its working life 100 years later in 1984.