Call for action after second hotel blaze

RESIDENTS have called for action to secure a disused hotel in a Suffolk market town after another fire broke out in the property yesterday.

RESIDENTS have called for action to secure a disused hotel in a Suffolk market town after another fire broke out in the property yesterday.

Firefighters were called to the Tarantella hotel on Melford Road in Sudbury shortly after 5:30am to put out a fire on the ground floor of the Georgian building.

The blaze destroyed two bedrooms and left exterior walls charred

Burnt mattresses, twisted metal and a pile of scorched wood were left outside the listed property, which has remained empty since it was gutted by a larger fire in January 2008. But with only a flimsy wire barrier to stop people getting in, the hotel, once a popular restaurant and wedding venue, has become a target for youths who break in late at night.

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Both the fire and police services have confirmed they believe yesterday's blaze was started deliberately leading local residents to call for the building to be properly boarded up to prevent further incidents.

Crews from Sudbury, Long Melford and Clare as well as Nayland and Bury St Edmunds attended the blaze.

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Deidre Mickelwright, owner of Woodpeckers children's nursery, which stands next door to the Tarantella, said she has been in contact with the police on numerous occasions to report trespassers in the vacant structure.

She said: “We have been so concerned about the amount of night time activity around the hotel that we installed CCTV and alarms to protect our business. We have recorded footage of young people coming and going in the early hours - some arriving in cars.

“Nothing has been done to secure the building since the first fire 18 months ago and we'd love to see it boarded up properly.”

Another resident on Canterbury Road, opposite the Tarantella, reported hearing noises coming from the property at “all hours” and described the current lax security around the building as “asking for trouble.”

She added: “The problem is the owner hasn't been there for ages, so people know it's empty.

Group manager of West Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service John Hubble, who attended the fire, said securing the property is now a priority.

He said: “Something has to be done. Not only to stop the vandalism but also because the parts of the building are now structurally unsound.

“The fire damage plus the wear and tear caused by the weather has left the building unsafe. We need to stop people going into it before we find ourselves trying to rescue people from a collapsed building.”

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