Corn exchange plans scaled down

AMBITIOUS future visions of Stowmarket's Corn Exchange have been shelved – and replaced with a scaled down version.Stowmarket town council had hoped to revolutionise the historic building, which dates back to 1835, with a £500,000 cash injection.

AMBITIOUS future visions of Stowmarket's Corn Exchange have been shelved – and replaced with a scaled down version.

Stowmarket town council had hoped to revolutionise the historic building, which dates back to 1835, with a £500,000 cash injection.

The project would have included a first floor and a glass-fronted foyer area, but these dreams have now been sidelined.

A sewerage pipe, an underground water storage chamber and a drain meant suitable foundations could not be laid.

This has led to more conservative plans being put forward, which are significantly lower in cost.

Town clerk Malcolm Baker said: "We had reached a stage where we needed some big monies to progress the scheme and the town council has now decided on a ground floor extension only.

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"It's going to be considerably lower in price and, because it's less complicated, the building work will be that much shorter."

Included in the revised plans will be a large hall, catering facilities and a bar, but the architects are now back to the drawing board. A new planning application is likely to be submitted in the coming months.

The project, which was discussed at a private meeting of the council on Wednesday, was greeted with disappointment.

However, Mr Baker said: "The scheme was going to be very important and it still is.

"All we're removing is the foyer, which would've looked nice, and the first floor. It will be still be a good facility for the community."

Formerly used as a snooker and pool hall in the early 1990s, it has been empty since being purchased for £50,000 by the council in 1995.

Around £125,000 has since been invested on making the building watertight and it is hoped grants will fund the remainder of the development.

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