By Paul Geater
Friday, November 30, 2012
Emergency repair work is due to start soon to repair the fabric of County Hall in St Helen’s Street.
The move comes after the borough council – which is responsible for ensuring listed buildings are properly maintained in the town – managed to make contact with its owners to discuss its condition.
Those talks have now resulted in an agreement that the owners will carry out the work in the near future. If they do not, the borough will carry them out and will then put a charge on the building – meaning that they will be able to recover the cost of the work from the owners.
Councillor with responsibility for economic development, Carole Jones, said: “We have now heard from the owners and we are hoping work will start straight away on securing this important building.
“We will not sit by – if there is no sign of that work we will do it ourselves and pass on the bill. We are determined to do what we can to save County Hall from further deterioration.”
The condition of County Hall has been a major concern for several years, and was highlighted in August when the Star was sent pictures taken inside the building showing how it had been allowed to deteriorate since the county council moved out in 2004.
Vandals, thieves and rough sleepers have caused problems – but there are also fears that bad winter weather could cause problems if the building remains unsecured.
It is owned by a company which is registered in Hertfordshire and is part of a group with a base at Hengrave Hall near Bury St Edmunds.
Yesterday, former mayor Ken Wilson said the former county council headquarters was “ugly” and had little value to the town.