Sudbury: Listed building reopens after two year delay

Sudbury mayor Adrian Osborne, Terry Waite and Quaker group clerk Betty Scrivener at the official reo

Sudbury mayor Adrian Osborne, Terry Waite and Quaker group clerk Betty Scrivener at the official reopening of the Friends meeting house in Friar's street - Credit: Archant

Renovation work on a Grade-II listed building, which was delayed for more than two years by Babergh planners, has finally been completed.

Permission to extend the 19th- Century red-brick Quaker Friends Meeting House in Friars Street, Sudbury, was initially granted in November 2010.

But a subsequent amendment made to the design of an entrance porch was turned down, despite the building being set back from the street. Officers said listed building consent should be refused because the benefits gained would not outweigh the “harm” the development would cause.

When permission was finally granted last year, planning committee chairman Peter Beer said it was “unacceptable” that the application had taken so long to reach the council. The case led to major changes in the way planning applications are handled by the district authority.

Quakers’ Group treasurer Henry Ruse said most people who lived in Sudbury had no idea what the historic building was, adding: “The renovation was designed to bring the building up to date and project it more into the street to make it more visible. We have also upgraded the facilities, including the electrics, wheelchair access and the disabled toilets. Because it took so long to get through planning, we were forced to close the building and we were left kicking our heels.”

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Humanitarian Terry Waite, who is a Quaker, performed the official opening duties on Saturday.

He said: “The porch really is an attraction which enhances the old building. The work has brought it up to date so it can be used again. It’s been a long road but it’s a proud day to see it finished.”

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