Offices of Challs International demolished after devastating fire on Hadleigh’s Lady Lane Industrial Estate last year

The Challs International building on Hadleigh's Lady Lane Industrial Estate, which was ravaged by fi

The Challs International building on Hadleigh's Lady Lane Industrial Estate, which was ravaged by fire last year, has been demolished - Credit: Archant

A new, modern building will be constructed on the site of a fire-damaged office unit on Hadleigh’s Lady Lane industrial estate.

Firefighters tackle the blaze at Challs International. Photo: Mark Eley, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Ser

Firefighters tackle the blaze at Challs International. Photo: Mark Eley, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service

The base of Challs International was gutted by a major blaze in October last year which caused more than £1million of damage.

Now the unsafe structure has been demolished after an investigation into how the fire started was completed – but it will be a few weeks before the findings are known.

Edel Schultz, the company’s PR manager, said it was evident quite soon after the blaze the building would have to come down.

“It was unsafe from that time onwards,” she said.“The demolition started two weeks ago and is nearly finished.

“They are taking away the various bits and pieces in skips.

“It was connected to a building next door so there had to be care taken so that building was protected.”

Most Read

Mrs Schultz added seeing the old offices demolished was an emotional moment for some members of staff.

“Challs have been in that building for 18 years,” she said. “People were at the window watching it come down.

“I think there was an air of sadness amongst the long standing staff. We are a relatively small company and the core staff are quite tight knit.”

After the blaze staff had to be moved to Challs’ other premises on the estate, Mrs Schultz said. However, the production of its cleaning and chemical products at associated company Primo Manufacturing was largely unaffected.

In place of the demolished building a new one will be built which the company hopes to move into around May next year.

Mrs Schultz said: “We have submitted plans for a new building, a modern corporate headquarters.

“It (the fire) was very unfortunate but we are all looking forward to moving into the new building.”

While the final stages of the demolition take place the company will wait for the final report from the investigation into the blaze.

“We still haven’t had a final report on the cause of the fire,” she said.

“It might be they can’t pinpoint the a particular reason for why it happened but I think if they had found something we would have been made aware by now.

“The investigation is finished, that’s why the demolition has started.”

Mrs Schultz also said 2014 was a bittersweet year for Challs as, despite the fire, it had been a record 12 months for the company.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter