May 24 2013 Latest news:
By PAUL GEATER, local government correspondent
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
SECURITY at the former County Hall in St Helen’s Street seems set to be improved after the Star published photographs showed how it had become a den for drug users and rough sleepers.
Suffolk County Council moved out of St Helen Court in 2004 when Endeavour House opened. The Grade II listed building was sold along with other council buildings in the area.
However while they were demolished to make way for new development – including Suffolk New College and new homes behind St Helen Court – the historic heart of County Hall had to remain and attempts to redevelop it foundered once the financial crash hit.
The current owners of the building, Essex-based Rainbow Developments, met with conservation and planning officials from the borough.
Further meetings are due to take place and it is hoped that tightened security, including the installation of steel shutters, could be introduced within the next few weeks.
Carole Jones, planning spokeswoman, said: “It is good to be moving forward on this and we had a very positive meeting last week.
“We are working closely with the developers and the police to ensure County Hall does not suffer further damage.
“We are pleased the developers have agreed to close points of entry and to improve security but we acknowledge that it is not easy to find a totally secure solution.
“Stalled developments are a result of very difficult economic conditions across the country but we will do all we can to help find a tenant for a refurbished County Hall.”
The Star highlighted the problem after we were sent photographs from inside the building, which dates from the Victorian era.
The pictures were taken by heritage enthusiasts who had got in through an open door and sent their images to us after they were shocked by what they found inside.
How should security be improved at County Hall? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org