Council pleased with interest in Hadleigh’s Corn Exchange as public get a chance to voice ideas for its future

Public viewing: Hadleigh's listed Corn Exchange building open for public viewing - town councillors

Public viewing: Hadleigh's listed Corn Exchange building open for public viewing - town councillors Jan Byrne and Sue Monk with local resident Jane Snowdon look round the building - Credit: Archant

Around 200 people visited a historic town centre building in Hadleigh last week as part of an effort to decide what it could be used for in the future.

The Corn Exchange in Market Place has been unused since the children’s centre there was closed earlier this year.

Now it has been put up for sale by owners Suffolk County Council and Hadleigh Town Council has expressed an interest in buying the Grade II listed building.

The building is also registered as an asset of community value and as such local groups have been given six months, until mid-October, to come up with the cash.

As part of its research into any potential purchase of the Corn Exchange the town council arranged for the building to be opened to the public last Wednesday and Saturday so people could look around and suggest possible uses.

Jan Byrne, a member of the council, said both days saw around 100 people visit the building.

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“There is an interest in seeing a building people haven’t been able to get in for a long time,” she said.

“There are lots of things people would like but none are financially viable.

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“Whatever happens to it if the town council went for it, it has got to be financially viable.”

She added while the inside of the building, which currently has several small rooms and a mezzanine floor, could be changed the listed status of the Corn Exchange meant changes to the structure of the building would be impractical.

Mrs Byrne said more research would be done by the council following the open days to help it make a decision, including the possibility of looking at uses for similar buildings in other parts of Suffolk.

She added: “Obviously the council will have to sit down and have a really good thrashing out of thoughts, ideas and where to go next if we go anywhere next.”

Suggestions made during the open days include small offices for start-up businesses, a location for antiques fairs or a covered market and a community hall.

The Corn Exchange was built when there was a boom in agricultural in the area and was owned by the Hadleigh Market Feoffment Charity until being sold in the 1970s.

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