Repairs beckon at historic house

HADLEIGH: A couple whose historic Tudor home was targeted by arsonists are today preparing to rebuild their indoor swimming pool destroyed in the blaze.

Cyndy and Anthony Hilton and their three children were awoken by a passerby who saw the flames coming from the timber extension to their property in January this year.

Firefighters managed to stop the flames spreading to the main house, Priory Hall in Benton Street, Hadleigh, which is also used as a wedding venue, but the pool building was destroyed, causing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Now the couple have applied to Babergh District Council for planning permission to rebuild the pool building and hope it ready for next spring.

“We are now going through all the planning processes and we haven’t heard that there are likely to be any difficulties,” said Mr Hilton.

“Our insurance company has been extremely good throughout and paid for the site to be cleared and the wreckage removed. We have had the pool covered over for safety reasons while everything is sorted out.

“Since then the architect has been preparing the plans for the rebuilding.

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“Because we hold weddings here, we don’t want to be doing building work in the summer so we will probably make a start towards the end of October to have the pool ready for next spring.”

Mr Hilton said police and fire investigators believed the fire was arson.

“They did a lot of work with CCTV in the area and investigations here but we have not heard anything further,” he said.

The family were fast asleep at the time of the fire. While they were awoken by a driver who stopped, banged on the door and shouted, ‘get out, your house is on fire’, neighbours called the fire service.

n Have you experienced a fire and want to tell us your story? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or email