Newsagents' staying in town centre location after fire damaged old store

David Patrick outside his newsagents' in Halesworth's Thoroughfare

David Patrick outside his newsagents' in Halesworth's Thoroughfare - Credit: Archant

A Halesworth newsagent has revealed he is staying put in his town centre store as his fire-damaged previous premises are rebuilt.

The Market Place premises of DC Patrick Newsagents was scorched in June 2018 after Stephen Wilson set fire to the flat above the shop.

Wilson, who started the fire after his pregnant girlfriend walked out on him, was later jailed for nine years.

The building, which is believed to be more than 500 years old, has had to be revamped to modern safety and design standards.

The Market Place building is being rebuilt after a fire in 2018

The Market Place building is being rebuilt after a fire in 2018 - Credit: Archant

Business owner David Patrick was forced to relocate his newsagents' on the ground floor to a nearby unit in the town's Thoroughfare after the fire.

It was only meant to be a temporary measure while the rebuild was completed - but Mr Patrick has decided to renew his tenancy there.

The 63-year-old, who rented the Market Place shop for more than 40 years, was responsible for the rebuild as part of an agreement with his landlord.


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Insurance covered the majority of the £700,000 required for the project, but Mr Patrick had to contribute some of the funds out of his own pocket.

The building is nearly set to reopen, with nearby pet shop The Feedbarn set to take over the premises.

Fire crews tackle the blaze in June 2018

Fire crews tackle the blaze in June 2018 - Credit: Judith Condon

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Mr Patrick said he had had sleepless nights over the ordeal and it had caused "a lot of grief and hassle" - but he is delighted it is almost over.

He added: "I'm a newsagent, not a builder - but I had to take on the role of project manager.

"Everything in the building had to change and modernise. I've had to put the property back in a better condition for my landlord.

"There's been a lot of nights where I thought: 'How am I going to do this?'

"But we kept the business going and I've had a lot of people wish me well and ask how they can help.

"It took a bit of doing to move in here and I've got the lease that I wanted.

"We're more central to the town centre and people know where I am now. We're in a better place here.

"The customers have come in and all backed me. I owe a big thank you to them."

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