Leiston: Grade II listed farm house at Upper Abbey Farm set for renovation following fire

AN electricity giant has outlined its plans to renovate a Grade II listed fire ravaged farm house following a claim it was “dragging its feet” over the scheme.

Colin Ginger, a member of Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council, said he was pleased EDF Energy appeared to now be taking action over the property at Upper Abbey Farm.

However he said he would continue to monitor the situation and ensure the company was held to its word.

The farm house is situated just off the Leiston to Eastbridge Road on land owned by EDF, on the edge of an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The property was gutted by fire around three years ago and Mr Ginger - who was keen to stress he was speaking as an individual and not on behalf of the town council - is disappointed renovation work did not start sooner.

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“This is my own personal view but I do feel EDF have been foot dragging over this,” he said. “I’m pleased that something finally looks like it is being done but it’s taken too long.

“The town council has had to remind EDF several times over the last 12 months.

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“I feel very strongly that we can’t afford to lose the farm house - it’s Grade II listed and a real treasure. I will make sure we keep on top of them and get the work completed.”

In a letter to town councillors EDF’s communications manager Tom McGarry explained that moves are now under way to renovate the farm house.

“In September, EDF Energy completed the recruitment of the project team, which includes an architect, surveyor, planner and project manager,” the letter reads. “The team undertook a full inspection on site and a building survey.

“This month we will be appointing a structural engineer, conducting ecology surveys and preparing early plans.

“Over the course of the next few weeks we will also engage in early discussions with planners at Suffolk Coastal District Council.

“As you are aware, the process can be lengthy but we hope to complete the design and obtain all necessary planning consents early next year. If we receive the necessary permissions it is our intention to start restoration as soon as possible, with a view to completing the project by this time next year.

“Please understand that this is an indicative timetable - we do not know for certain what issues might arise from the ecology and the results of the building survey.”

John Rayner, clerk to Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council, said they were pleased EDF had put a project team together and looked forward to when the work was complete.

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