Campaigners have been left 'utterly devastated' as an 'architecturally significant' 18th century Suffolk cottage is being demolished following a fire.

The timber-framed White Cottage in the grounds of Framlingham College had been the subject of redevelopment plans to provide two homes after the cottage fell into a state of disrepair - with much of the original building deemed 'unsalvageable' by structural engineers.

READ MORE: Suffolk: Appeal to save historic Framlingham College cottage

However, the college withdrew its plans in January following a public outcry, with opponents hoping to save the 18th century cottage, describing its architectural importance as the only remaining example of a weatherboarded property in east Suffolk.

In December 2019, the college had been given permission by East Suffolk Council for plans to refurbish and sub-divide the cottage.

But in late July, fire crews from Woodbridge and Framlingham were called to a fire at the cottage in College Road and the road has remained closed ever since.

READ MORE: Firefighters called to blaze in College Road, Framlingham

The council gave the go-ahead for demolition at the end of last week due to the dangerous condition of the premises and the road closure is due to be lifted on Friday (August 11) once the demolition has been completed.

East Anglian Daily Times: Fire crews deal with the fire at the White Cottage in the grounds of Framlingham CollegeFire crews deal with the fire at the White Cottage in the grounds of Framlingham College (Image: Newsquest)

Campaigner Reuben Higgins said: "The proposed total demolition of the fire-damaged White Cottage is utterly devastating. 

"It was only two months ago that Framlingham College’s application to East Suffolk Council for the full demolition and replacement of the cottage was withdrawn after an outcry of public objections. 

READ MORE: Framlingham news

"In this space of time we had hoped a sensible scheme for the restoration of this rare architectural jewel be put forward, our hopes encouraged by the protective scaffolding erected around the house during July. 

"Alas, we hope no more because of irreversible damage to it by fire two weeks ago.  

The college's bursar Nick Rudston said: "The demolition work, due to commence on Wednesday August 9 and being undertaken by contractors on behalf of Framlingham College, was approved following confirmation from the fire service that no formal investigation into the cause of the fire at the unlisted White Cottage was necessary and no suspicious circumstances were reported.  

"Given the unforeseen nature of events regarding the White Cottage and the college’s intentions to work in collaboration with the council to secure the future of the property, no further decisions have yet been made in relation to ongoing plans for the site." 

READ MORE: Suffolk news