Civic group opposes demolition plan for old Conservative Club
- Credit: Archant
New plans to demolish the former Conservative Club in Sudbury are being opposed by the town’s civic society.
Sudbury-based Rogerson Holdings has submitted a scheme to Babergh District Council to flatten the building and the body of adjoining Victoria Hall and re-develop nearby New Hall for housing.
David Burnett of The Sudbury Society said a structural appraisal in the proposals claimed demolition was essential because of the shallow foundations for the buildings.
But he said: "We feel the present white brick façade of the Conservative Club, with its gables and oriel windows, is a significant element in the town Conservation Area when looking down New Street and the building should be retained.
"Renovation might not be easy but its foundations should not be an issue; they have supported the building for over 100 years. That would still allow space for two three-storey town houses extending up to the boundary of the adjacent three-storey former mill."
The proposals are for six houses with on-site car parking for each property on the site of the club/hall, and reduce New Hall in size for additional parking and conversion into a residence and an office or studio.
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However the facade to Victoria Hall, which features distinctive cast-iron name and date plaques, which would be retained under the proposals.
Mr Burnett said the society could accept the plans for Victoria Hall because of the fears over the foundations and the fact it also has "other issues inhibiting a successful conversion".
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"Even if the developers set out to retain the present facade to Prince Street it might well prove too unstable to be incorporated in the new interior.
"In that case we would favour a replacement façade that, whilst recognisably modern, makes reference to the features of the original."
The society said it was also happy with the plans for New Hall, a single-storey former industrial unit dating back to the 1860s.
Victoria Hall was built in 1887 and featured a stage, gallery and changing rooms.
It is joined to the Conservative Club, which used it for functions and hired it out as a venue for lectures, dances and theatrical performances before the Quay Theatre was opened in the 1970s.
Rogersons acquired the site in 2015 after the club and hall finally closed the previous year.
In 2017 they were granted planning permission to convert it into five flats but development work was halted after major structural issues with the buildings emerged.
This led to the new plans having to be drawn up.