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One last chance to save town's history

PUBLISHED: 10:21 15 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:00 03 March 2010

CAMPAIGNERS have been given one final chance to find the money to restore a priceless part of Woodbridge's history before it will be demolished.

Time is running out for the Suffolk Gardens Trust to obtain between £15,000 and £25,000 to restore the glasshouses and sunken melon pit in Elmhurst Park.

CAMPAIGNERS have been given one final chance to find the money to restore a priceless part of Woodbridge's history before it will be demolished.

Time is running out for the Suffolk Gardens Trust to obtain between £15,000 and £25,000 to restore the glasshouses and sunken melon pit in Elmhurst Park.

The town council was told three years ago that the neglected structures were in a dilapidated and dangerous condition and that the council, as owner, would be responsible if anyone was injured.

The melon pit house has been cordoned off while the council waits for the Trust to restore it. But the council has already extended the deadline for restoration work several times and now the council has decided that there can only be one more chance.

The Trust will be told the fate of the building hangs on an application to the Local Heritage Commission for finance. If the Commission gives a grant to the Trust then the council will allow the melon pit house to be saved. But if there is no grant and the Trust does not have enough money then the council will demolish it.

Less Binns, a former mayor, told the full council meeting: '' We have been hearing some weird things from these people for some time and that they will be able to rebuild the glasshouses and use them as an educational resource.

''However, this council is still in danger because this is still a hazard and the health and safety people are, I think, not far from waiting to pounce.''

Nigel Barratt, town councillor, said: ''The lottery application is still there and I do not think it would be correct for this council to say pull it down. If the money is there to do it then great, but if there is no money then maybe we should demolish.''

There are few surviving examples of a melon pit house. Before Elmhurst Park was given to the town, it was private land with a working garden that included a gardener's cottage, walled vegetable and flower garden, walls for soft fruit, cold frames, greenhouses and the melon house.

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