Sudbury fire will cost ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’ but town centre will be rebuilt, says finance chief

Sudbury fire.

Sudbury fire. - Credit: Archant

Speaking at the scene of the blaze, Chris Storey, chair of the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, said the town centre has suffered a “significant loss” and “very severe damage”.

Last night, around 20 people were evacuated from their homes after an “apocalyptic” fire broke out in the market town. Fire crews rescued several people trapped inside the flats of the historic buildings.

Mr Storey said: “There is utter devastation. It is terribly sad. There is a sense of shock. I can’t believe how much damage has been done by this. It really is quite appalling.

“My first concern is for the people who were affected by it, secondly for the loss of historical buildings in the area and thirdly to make sure that everyone is back in business as possible after this although it will evidently take time for it to be assessed and for things to be put back in order.

“But the town centre will be rebuilt, but there is so much lost in this. The core of the buildings has just gone completely. There is nothing left of the central buildings.

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“It will have to be rebuilt to look like it but you can’t really restore the central building that is affected. It has just completely gone. “There is nothing realistically left of what was the Oxfam shop. Some of it can be rebuilt I would anticipate.

“It is going to be hundreds of thousands I would anticipate at the very least. In addition to what has collapsed, there will be water damage to other areas as well.

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“It is very hard until they get in there and assess and appraise everything to know exactly what the overall impact is and how it can be worked through to actually remove everything to start off with before you can rebuild.

“We will have to see how long the appraisal process takes because it is a hard one to weigh up and it has got to be carefully done so lives are not put at risk.

“There are also lot of people who have got to be rehomed. Let’s hope there is a quick resolution. The locksmiths is certainly out of commission at the moment and probably for some considerable period of time because the roof above it looks structurally unsound.”

But he added that he was relieved that the fire did not spread further across the town centre and said Sudbury was still open for business.

He said: “Everything is doing fairly well and I think everything will continue to do well. There is this one area which is affected at the moment and we will have some significant traffic issues which is caused by the closure of the first part of Friars Street but people can work round that reasonably.

“There is still shopping going on, shops are open and the town will continue to prosper because it is good place to visit.

“It is one isolated area and it is just as well in some respects it didn’t pass the end of Station Road or out on to Gainsborough Street by containing it within the area they have done. It has prevented those areas and those roads being affected which is a great relief because you can get traffic down those two streets.”

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