Stowmarket: Heritage group criticise plan for The Mix

A HERITAGE group has criticised Suffolk County Council’s plan to demolish a Victorian building as part of a multi-million pound youth centre project in Stowmarket.

The town house in Ipswich Street, which is in a conservation area, will be knocked down as part of The Mix youth centre plans – because it is deemed too expensive to refurbish.

The original council plan was to refurbish the building, but the property was later found to be in a poor state of repair which would cost �250,000 over budget to restore.

But the Victorian Society has attacked the move.

“Any householder knows that building costs may rise – it’s why people keep money for contingencies,” said James Hughes, conservation advisor at the Victorian Society.

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“Stowmarket’s Conservation Area is there to protect the town centre’s Victorian character. If you start demolishing characterful, unlisted red-brick Victorian houses and replacing them with bland modern constructions, Stowmarket would be a lot less interesting.”

The council applied for planning permission to knock down the building last month.

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A SCC spokesman said: “The council is fully committed to preserving and finding alternative uses for heritage buildings in the county.

“The intention was to retain and refurbish the existing period frontage building. However, when works started, it became apparent that the building was in a poor state of repair and following extensive surveys, it became clear that the building is not sound enough for its intended purposes and that the cost of repair would be excessive.”

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