Hadleigh Town Council unanimously votes to end interest in buying Grade II-listed Corn Exchange

Hadleigh Corn Exchange

Hadleigh Corn Exchange - Credit: Su Anderson

An historic building in the heart of Hadleigh will be sold on the open market after the town’s council said it could not afford to buy it.

The Grade II-listed Corn Exchange in Market Place was put up for sale earlier this year by owners Suffolk County Council.

The town council expressed an interest in buying the building, formerly owned by the Hadleigh Market Feoffment Charity until being sold in the 1970s.

The council held two open days to gather ideas from residents about potential uses for the building.

It also looked into the finances of buying the Corn Exchange which would have had to pay its way rather than being subsidised.

At a meeting of the town council on Thursday, Hadleigh Town Council unanimously voted to accept the recommendation of its finance committee and end its interest in the building.

A statement from the council said: “Following its meeting Hadleigh Town Council regretfully announced that it will not be pursuing the purchase of the Corn Exchange which was made an Asset of Community Value in 2014. The town council had held two open days in the Corn Exchange to allow the public and interested parties to see what could be done with the building for the community.

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“After investigations into options for the purchase of the building the finance committee met to discuss the financial implications for the town council should it make an offer to purchase.

“Careful consideration was given by the finance committee to all the options available and they unanimously agreed to recommend to the full council that it would not be financially viable to purchase the Corn Exchange.”

The statement also said the council did not feel it would be appropriate to back one or other of the private projects presented to it but it would “fully support any interested party that may purchase it for community use”.

A number of councillors expressed their sadness at having to come to the decision, while Hadleigh’s mayor Richard Whiting said not purchasing the Corn Exchange was the responsible thing to do.

He said: “The amount of money this council would have had to raise is a terrific amount.

“If we had saddled ourselves with a terrific loan payment we could experience a lot of difficulties.

“We did make it clear from the word go it would be a thing which would have to pay for itself.

“It just didn’t stack up. It’s a shame, it would be nice to have these things.”

Mr Whiting said he was hopeful the Corn Exchange would be returned to community use through one of the private projects presented to the council.

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