Listing historic Frinton landmark could 'skew' future plans

Neil Stock

Neil Stock says listing Imperial Hall could 'skew any future negotiations'. - Credit: Pagepix

Listing a historic Essex building could "skew" discussions around its preservation plans in future, a council leader has said. 

Imperial Hall, in Frinton, was built in 1927 as a theatre and meeting hall and was used for military purposes between 1939 and 1946.

Frinton and Walton Heritage Trust (FWHT) want it listed as an asset of community value. 

The move would mean the local authority which would have to inform the community if it was listed for sale. 

The community can then enact the Community Right to Bid, which gives them a moratorium period of six months to determine if they can raise the finance to purchase the asset.

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The building is currently owned by Prykes Commercial Removals. 

Neil Stock, leader of Tendring District Council, says the move to list the hall as an asset of community value could anger the current owners, and "skew any future negotiations" before they even have a chance to discuss and plan a way forward if they ever decided to sell.

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Instead Mr Stock said he would rather facilitate discussions between two parties to secure the future of the historic landmark than list it as a community asset. 

Cllr Stock added: “I am entirely sympathetic to the cause of protecting and preserving that building for future prosperity.

“But I genuinely think the best way of doing that is we try to encourage discussions to take place and if the council can help to facilitate that I am more than happy.”

After its use for military purposes in World War Two the war finished the building did not return to the community as it had been requisitioned by the army. 

By 1962 the building was being used as a furniture store and depository and when offered to the community in the early 70’s much interest was shown in returning it to its former use but this did not come to fruition.

The building was then purchased by Prykes Commercial Removals who remain the current owners using it for furniture storage.

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