Council set to order emergency work on historic derelict stables

Queensbury Lodge in Newmarket, where a diversionary path away was installed last April as the parts

Queensbury Lodge in Newmarket, where a diversionary path away was installed last April as the parts of the site are at risk of collapse. Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

West Suffolk Council could order urgent works to prevent a historic disused house and stable block in Newmarket from falling down.

Queensbury Lodge, Queensbury Cottage and stables in Newmarket High Street have been at the centre of a dispute between the council and its owner, the Gredley Charitable Trust, for more than 30 years.

A report to the council's cabinet said parts were in danger of collapsing across the footpath and road and posed a danger to public safety.

The council installed a diversionary path last April but there was no support work done to the building.

"Urgent works are therefore now required to preserve the three buildings whilst discussions with the owner continue," the report said.

The cabinet, due to meet in Mildenhall on Tuesday, February 11, is being recommended to approve that the works be carried out and attempts made to recover the costs from the owners.

The Grade II listed buildings are the second oldest stables in the town - the home of British horseracing - and parts of it date back to the 17th century. They were last used as stables in the late 1980s.

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"Whilst it is intended to continue to work proactively with the owner to achieve an acceptable proposal, it is unlikely that development would commence for several years," the report said.

"If urgent works are not secured, the listed buildings will have to endure at least two more winters with subsequent further deterioration. Officers are concerned the Lodge, in particular, is in imminent danger of collapse.

"The owner has been given the opportunity to carry out the urgent works required in the short-term and has declined."

The Gredley Charitable Trust works with elderly people in Newmarket and is based at the Unex property development group in the town.

Unex chairman Bill Gredley said the charity wanted to convert the site into a nursing home and talks were on-going with the council. However he blamed the council for the property deteriorating and said it would not be contributing towards the cost of any urgent works.

"The council, quite rightly, has a duty to protect a listed building. But we've been debating it for 30 or 40 years now because of their intransigence," he said.

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