Borough HQ gets top award

JUST a year after it was described as a missed opportunity by Suffolk's heritage watchdog, the borough's new headquarters has scooped a top award.Grafton House in Russell Road opened last September to the sound of a loud raspberry from the Suffolk Preservation Society.

JUST a year after it was described as a missed opportunity by Suffolk's heritage watchdog, the borough's new headquarters has scooped a top award.

Grafton House in Russell Road opened last September to the sound of a loud raspberry from the Suffolk Preservation Society.

The society claimed Grafton House was not a striking enough building for an important organisation like the borough council. But it has now won a top award from the British Council for Offices.

Grafton House was named the best new office block in the midlands and East Anglia - which noted it was energy efficient and provided a comfortable working atmosphere for staff.


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The judges added: "Interestingly, just across the road lie the Suffolk County Council's offices (Endeavour House); we think that this is a good example of local authorities working together to regenerate neighbourhoods."

The award comes a year after the Suffolk Preservation Society included Grafton House on a list of five nominees for the “worst in the east” awards.

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At the time society director Richard Ward described Grafton House as a missed opportunity - but today he admitted he had been impressed on visits to the building.

He said: “I can see why it won an award for its energy efficiency and for its comfortable working environment, but from the outside it is a building which divides opinion.

“It was nominated for the worst in the east because of nominations from the public.”

Both staff and councillors at Grafton House were delighted to hear about the award.

Paul Fincken from North West Estates which built, and owns, the building added: “The whole project from design to occupation has been a great success and it's nice that this has been recognised by a respected body promoting good design in office accommodation."

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