Building will be reborn in new project

FRESH life could be breathed back into a decaying building which has fallen into disrepair if funding for an ambitious renovation project is secured next month.

FRESH life could be breathed back into a decaying building which has fallen into disrepair if funding for an ambitious renovation project is secured next month.

Currently on the Buildings at Risk register, the Maltings, in Elsey Yard, Bury St Edmunds, will be transformed into five affordable housing units and a heritage centre and café.

But the project, spearheaded by St MatthewHousing, will only go ahead if a bid for £802,000 in Heritage Lottery cash is approved next month.

“The plan is to renovate the old building and transform it into a heritage centre, which would constitute an exhibition space and training rooms which would be available to the wider community,” said Wendy Cullingworth, chief executive of St Matthew Housing.


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“A café and kitchen would also provide work and training opportunities for disadvantaged people.

“Another important aspect is that this Grade II listed industrial building will be rescued - a building which is unique and right in the town centre.

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“This derelict building could be transformed into something fantastic, and we are very committed to the project.”

The total cost of the scheme is expected to run to £1.6m, with cash also provided by St Edmundsbury Borough Council and St Matthew Housing.

Planning permission has already been agreed and, once complete, two of the flats will be fully wheelchair accessible, with second bedrooms provided for carers or family members.

“The Maltings is on the at risk register, and it is very exciting to see it brought back into use,” said Sara Mildmay-White, council portfolio-holder for resources.

“I am absolutely delighted, as it is an ambition of mine to see these buildings refurbished.”

Council officials have described the building as unsafe, adding the body has a “duty of care” to safeguard the block because of its listed status.

And if the funding bid is a success, bosses at St Matthew Housing will consider moving their head office from Norwich to Bury for inclusion in the scheme.

Building work will begin on the project next summer, with completion scheduled for summer 2006.

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