July 24 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Jumbo water tower in Colchester town centre has sold at auction for £190,000.
The Grade II*-listed building, the largest Victorian water tower in England, went under the hammer at Allsop’s in London.
A proxy bid of £140,000 by the Balkerne Tower Trust, a charity which hopes to restore the tower as a museum and viewing gallery, failed to secure the building.
The trust has now said it will return £40,000 in donations given to it in a bid to buy the tower.
Brian Light, chairman, said: “The Balkerne Tower Trust wish to say an immense thank you to all our donors for their magnificent achievement. This demonstrates the huge depth of support that exists for our public interest plans for the magnificent Jumbo.
“We were hoping potential buyers would recognise that no viable commercial development has yet been devised for Jumbo, but we recognised that some might wish to speculate.
“We will continue to press for an end to 27 years of wanton neglect of this monument, and to oppose any development scheme which would damage Jumbo’s unique character.
“We would welcome early contact with Jumbo’s new owner.”
It is understood Jumbo has been bought by poultry farmer Paul Flatman, from Wormingford.
Former owner George Braithwaite, a developer who bought the tower for £330,000 eight years ago, said the issue was “a closed book” as far as he was concerned.
He had two schemes to convert the tower into a restaurant, offices and flats with a viewing gallery turned down by Colchester Borough Council’s planning committee.
He added: “I have wasted enough time of my life on this.
“The trust offered me £30,000 for it - they are in a dream world.
“Mr Flatman, if he is the new owner, used to be my neighbour and I like the fellow and am quite pleased for him.
“I am happy to be out of it all.”