Civic society welcomes building work

WORK to restore and protect two historical buildings in Colchester has been welcomed by the town's civic society.The former Charles Brown and Sons hardware store on the corner of East Street and Ipswich Road, part of which dates back to the 14th century, was in a poor condition.

WORK to restore and protect two historical buildings in Colchester has been welcomed by the town's civic society.

The former Charles Brown and Sons hardware store on the corner of East Street and Ipswich Road, part of which dates back to the 14th century, was in a poor condition.

In 2001 the former store, which is made up of two listed buildings, was made the subject of a compulsory purchase order by Essex County Council.

The order would allow the county council to buy the buildings in order to protect them from further disrepair.

But the order could now be rescinded after developers bought the buildings and began restoration work.

Hardings Homes East Anglia Limited is developing the nearby former Mill Hotel and also bought the former hardware store.

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Part of the planning agreement for the work on the Mill included the improvements to Charles Brown and Sons.

The work is also being financially supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and Colchester Borough Council.

The former store had been on the buildings at risk register since 1990.

John Egan, chairman of Colchester Civic Society, said: "A lot of work went on between the developers and planning department to arrive at a suitable scheme and we were happy with that because it does ensure that those buildings are largely kept in a proper condition.

"There were things that could have been done differently but overall we were fairly satisfied with the scheme and it is appropriate that now the compulsory purchase order should be lifted.

"We had been concerned about the building for many years, as were many people, including the North East Essex Buildings Preservation Trust."

Essex County Council's Development and Regulation Committee will make the final decision about lifting the compulsory purchase order at a meeting on October 24.

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