Grade 2 stables up for grabs

IT could be a snip at the price!Untouched for biggest part of a century, one of Felixstowe's most historic buildings is at last set for a new lease of life.

By Richard Cornwell

IT could be a snip at the price!

Untouched for biggest part of a century, one of Felixstowe's most historic buildings is at last set for a new lease of life.

Despite its uninviting solid red-brick walls, the stable block and coach house is expected to make around £300,000 when it is auctioned this month – and will then need around £200,000 spent on it to turn it, possibly, into a family home.

Its sale by owners Felixstowe Lawn Tennis Club will provide big benefits for the town, too – as it will enable the club to do up its pavilion and grounds.

The grade 2 listed block – which stands in Bath Road – was built in 1892 as part of the Bath Hotel, which was burned down by suffragettes in 1914 during their protests to gain the vote for women.

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Since then it has had little use except for storage, and while it is in exceptionally good state of repair, some of its rooms bear the signs of those bygone days.

One room upstairs is still scattered with the beer bottles of an illicit party from decades ago, the papers on the floor have dates from 1959 and have not been opened nor read since.

"It could become a really lovely and unusual family home – there is so much space and the rooms are all such good sizes," said Richard Bannister, of Bannister and Co auctioneers and estate agents, who are handling the sale.

"But that's only one option. It could be split into more than one house or apartments, or a terrace of mews offices with living accommodation above.

"Whoever buys it though will be faced with spending a lot of money to refurbish and convert the inside.

"It is structurally sound and there are solid, seasoned timbers throughout. But it will still need a lot of work to make it habitable.

"Felixstowe doesn't have many really old buildings because it is mainly a Victorian and Edwardian resort, so this has to be one of the oldest in the town and certainly the last untouched one from that period.

"We have already had interest from all over the region and London and I am confident it will sell for well over the guide price."

Its 16 rooms, cloakroom and entrance hall boast 6,737 sq ft and stand on a site of almost a fifth of an acre.

Plans to auction the building – designed by Thomas Cotman for brewer John Cobbold – have twice before fallen through.

The first time it was because of a problem, since solved, with the deeds and the second time because it was listed by the government at the last minute.

This time there will be no hic-cups. A guide price of £225,000 has been set and bidders will gather at the Orwell Hotel, Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, at 12 noon on November 25.

Architect Cotman designed many of Felixstowe's best-known buildings, including the nearby Harvest House, originally the "millionaires' hotel" The Felix.

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