Building comes down brick-by-brick

DEMOLITION of a fire-ravaged eyesore on Felixstowe seafront should be complete by the end of the month, it was revealed today.

DEMOLITION of a fire-ravaged eyesore on Felixstowe seafront should be complete by the end of the month, it was revealed today.

Workmen started pulling down the Herman de Stern back in October, but it has had to be taken apart carefully because of asbestos inside, rather than bulldozed.

Contractors Erith Group are being paid £129,500 to bulldoze the former convalescent home, the first move in a £25million-plus project to regenerate the 17-acre site behind the Edwardian building.

Workers have been at the site most days, working from cherry pickers to knock down the upper floors brick by brick, with the landmark gradually disappearing.

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Now the project is nearing completion, and the whole site will be made safe, landscaped and opened up again, though no work is likely to start on the redevelopment of the land for some time.

A Suffolk Coastal District Council spokesman said: “It will probably be another two weeks before the building is completely razed to the ground.

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“We will then carry out some landscaping work and remove the hoardings.

“Over the last month, the contractors have been concentrating on removing the asbestos which is quite an involved job, and has taken longer than hoped because of the recent high winds and the freezing conditions before Christmas.”

The building has been fenced off since a group of children set light to it more than a year ago.

It was originally a convalescent home when it opened in 1902 but had also served as a community centre and theatre.

It had been earmarked for demolition before the blaze, and permission has been given for 158 homes, a maritime park, café, play areas, car parks and events arena on the land behind.

The Martello Tower which stands in the centre of the site will be refurbished and turned into an arts centre. Consultants are looking at a range of potential ideas for the Napoleonic fort.

The Herman de Stern's site has been earmarked for a restaurant, but nothing will be built unless a separate developer comes forward later.

The whole project is dependent on government giving grant aid for new sea defences to protect the area.


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