What is happening at Hadleigh Corn Exchange?

New use for landmark building, Hadleigh Corn Exchange. It is to become the home of new estate agents

New use for landmark building, Hadleigh Corn Exchange. It is to become the home of new estate agents Chapman Stickels - Robert Chapman and Ben Stickels Ltd. Picture: CHAPMAN STICKELS - Credit: Archant

Hadleigh Corn Exchange, where local farmers and merchants would haggle over the price of grain, is getting a new use.

The landmark building, one of the most prominent in the market town, will be the home of a new local estate agency Chapman Stickels from the middle of October, so deals will be struck again here.

It is being launched by Robert Chapman from Boxford and Ben Stickels from Kersey, who previously worked together at Carter Jonas in Long Melford.

The Corn Exchange building is a grand structure, now Grade II listed for its historical and architectural importance.

It was built in 1813 and restored and updated in Victorian times, in 1895.

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Ben Stickels said it originally had an open rectangular interior courtyard, where presumably the trading of the corn took place.

That was later roofed over.

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When cheaper imports of barley and wheat arrived in the country from 1870, many Corn Exchanges were no longer needed and were lost.

Many were demolished because it was difficult to find a new use for them especially after the Second World War.

In later times it was owned by a local charity, and then by Suffolk County Council and was operated as a childrens' centre for years, before being sold off as a commercial building.

It was listed in 1972.

He said: "Our intentions are to sympathetically modernise the interior of the building."

Robert Chapman added: "It is going really well. We have the builders and the decorators in and we have the whole ground floor. It really is an impressive building.

"This is a really exciting and tremendous time to be launching. We have had three-and-a-half years of the Brexit nonsense and whichever way it is resolved there will be a wave of relief across the country. It is a great time to be doing this."

Previously Mr Chapman worked with his father and brother in the family business Roy Chapman and Sons at Nayland until it closed in 2012, having worked before then in the bloodstock industry. So he has worked in estate agency for almost 30 years.

Ben Stickels added: "It is really exciting to be setting up this new business in Hadleigh in an exceptional building."

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