May 21 2013 Latest news:
BY NAOMI GORNALL
Friday, January 18, 2013
Emergency repair work has been carried out on the former County Hall in Ipswich to protect the historic building.
Ipswich Borough Council ordered the owners of the site in St Helen’s Street to complete the work due to its poor condition.
Urgent talks between the council and the owners were called a few months ago after photographs revealing extensive damage inside the derelict building were published in The Star.
Councillor with responsibility for planning and economic development, Carole Jones, said: “We sent a warning to the owners that they had to carry out the urgent work to protect the building, in particular the roof and fire escape. They have done that now.
“We are very concerned about the state of the building but we are glad that at least the minimal protection work has been enforced.
“Its conversion is difficult – there have been suggestions about what it could be, like a museum or a hotel, but the lack of parking is an issue.
“We hope we will be able to help the owners find uses for it in the future but in the meantime we are trying to protect it.”
Last August, The Star printed shocking pictures of the property’s deterioration, which was once the headquarters of Suffolk County Council until it moved into Endeavour House in 2004.
The Grade II listed County Hall – named as one of the ten most endangered Victorian buildings in the country last year – was found to be trashed inside with fireplaces torn out, wire stolen, and wooden panelling partially stripped. There was also a tree growing through a broken window.
In December, security was stepped up to keep out vandals and thieves.
Repair work has now been carried out on the property, which is owned by a company registered in Hertfordshire and is part of a group with a base at Hengrave Hall near Bury St Edmunds.