Restoration work praised

MULTI-million pound work to restore one of Suffolk's best loved buildings has been praised in a new practical guide on how to conserve Britain's rich heritage.

MULTI-million pound work to restore one of Suffolk's best loved buildings has been praised in a new practical guide on how to conserve Britain's rich heritage.

Suffolk Coastal planning officers' part in conserving and renovating Snape Maltings was commended by English Heritage as representing one of the best examples of constructive conservation in the country.

The Maltings is the district's premier arts venue and its concert hall and shops attract more than 500,000 visitors a year, but the majority of the grade two listed Victorian buildings in the complex had fallen into disuse and were in dire need of repair.

Now they are being restored - to create more attractions, including the recently expanded home and garden store and a new café, plus apartments, a heritage centre, museum and workshop to house already established painting, craft courses and art exhibitions.

“Suffolk Coastal's planning officers worked with Aldeburgh Music, owner Johnny Gooderham, Haworth Tompkins, the architects, and English Heritage, to come up with new ways of using the Maltings buildings while remaining in tune with their historic features,” said Ivan Jowers, chairman of the council's development control committee.

“What we have achieved at Snape Maltings forms one of 20 case studies in a new book published by English Heritage, Constructive Conservation In Practice. It is the second volume in a series aimed at raising awareness of constructive conservation and giving others the confidence to take on such projects.

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“Thanks to the success of the link-up, we have set a shining example for other organisations to follow, and saved some of our district's finest buildings that otherwise would have fallen into ruin.”

Paddy Dillon, of Haworth Tompkins, said “Converting the buildings to new uses without destroying their unique character presents a whole range of challenges, and our dialogue with English Heritage and Suffolk Coastal planning officers has been central to the project. Together we have developed a response to the Maltings which gives them a new future.”

Jonathan Reekie, chief executive of Aldeburgh Music, said: “The building work is now very advanced and it is clear that new life is being successfully brought to this site, whilst maintaining its unique character.”

Do you like the restoration of Snape Maltings? Should old buildings like this be saved and brought back into use? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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