Historic building to get cash lifeline?

A PROMINENT town centre building dismissed as “rot” by shoppers and passers-by must be saved from complete deterioration, it was warned last night.

Dave Gooderham

A PROMINENT town centre building dismissed as “rot” by shoppers and passers-by must be saved from complete deterioration, it was warned last night.

Heritage watchdogs have led calls for urgent action to a Georgian property in Sudbury's North Street which has been described as an important part of the town's past.

The derelict Grade II listed building, close to the Masonic Hall, has been earmarked for funding for ten years but has run into constant problems with owners and tenants, it was claimed last night.


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But Babergh District Council has offered new hope after admitting it was exploring “possible sources of finance” which could bring fresh life to the empty shell.

Stephen Thorpe, vice-chairman of the Sudbury Society, said: “This is a fine building and something we have been keeping an eye on and we would like Babergh to carry out some security measures.

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“We feel the building is at serious risk of vandalism or even fire and urgent action is needed. The building itself has gradually deteriorated and even disintegrated a little.

“Some people might walk past it and dismiss it as rot but it is an important part of the town's heritage and renovation is not impossible.”

The derelict building, which is on Babergh's and Suffolk's buildings at risk registers, had been targeted for renovation under the now-defunct Sudbury Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme (HERS) but the man leading the project said there had been problems with the owners and former tenants, who yesterday could not be contacted by the EADT.

Patrick Taylor, Babergh's conservation architect, said: “The building is owned by a property company in London and was a Chinese restaurant for many years.

“It had been a target for improvements for the last ten years and we even got to a stage where we offered the tenants £4,000 for improvements to the front and further money to install Georgian windows.

“The tenants got some quotes and were in a position where they could pay for the contractors and then claim the money back. But then it all went dead.”

A spokesman for the district council added: “Babergh is aware of the poor state of repair of 48 North Street and, although HERS funding has come to an end, is actively exploring possible sources of finance that might contribute towards the conservation of the building.”

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