Restoration work on scorched Halesworth newsagents to begin
- Credit: Archant
Building work to restore a Halesworth newsagents that was devastated in a fire is set to commence on Monday.
David Patrick, owner of DC Patrick Newsagents, has been temporarily running his business from a unit in Thoroughfare after the shop he had been trading from for 35 years was devastated by fire in June 2018.
Plans for the renovation of the fire-hit Grade II_listed building in Market Place were submitted to East Suffolk Council in April and work is finally due to start next week.
Mr Patrick described the commencement of building work as a "big step" on the road back to his former site, and said they could be ready to move in early next year.
His customers will be delighted, he said.
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"Everyday I get questions asking when I will be back in the old store," explained the newsagent, who opened the temporary shop in October 2018.
Cooper & Denny Building Contractors have been employed to undertake the project, which is expected to last around six months.
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The damage to the timber-framed building, which also affected two adjacent properties, was estimated at £1.8 million.
Mr Patrick explained the plans to restore the building, which dates back to the 1500s, will not make any changes to its previous design.
He added: "The place is completely gutted, but once we are finished the shop will be exactly the same as before."
He wanted to thank members of the public for their outpouring of support as he prepares for restoration work in Market Place to commence.
Mr Patrick said: "I want to thank the public and my customers for their continued support, and for asking how I am. They have all been there for me."
In May, Stephen Wilson was jailed for nine years after being found guilty of deliberately causing the fire, with prosecutors describing the attack as an "extremely petulant, dangerous act".
The court heard Wilson started the blaze in a flat directly above the shop after his heavily-pregnant girlfriend walked out on him.