Restoration work starts on ‘at risk’ Grade II Listed College Street building in Ipswich

A new catalogue called Falling in Love Buildings At Risk has been compiled by save Britain's Heritag

A new catalogue called Falling in Love Buildings At Risk has been compiled by save Britain's Heritage, and includes two buildings in Suffolk in disrepair and in need of investment. 1-5 College Street near the Waterfront in Ipswich. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

A derelict Grade II-listed building that has been on the ‘at risk’ register for more than 20 years has finally been handed a lifeline.

Numbers 1-5 College Street have been empty since 1993, and after vandalism, weather damage, poor maintenance and a fire in 2002, the derelict building looked condemned to crumble.

But now, after local developer Max Hembry, of Cardinal Lofts, stepped in, weather-proofing and restoration work has got under way to secure the future of the historic site.

Architect Matthew Stearn said: “All I am involved with is doing the external repairs to make it wind and water tight, and hopefully get it off the buildings at risk register,” adding that preliminary work began around Easter.

Restored brickwork and roof repairs are under way, as well as work to restore the archway at the back.

It is understood that period front doors from its 18th Century roots will also be installed.

It is not yet known when work will be completed, but developments are also expected to be made close to the Wolsey Gate, with the potential of opening up a walkway between the gate and the buildings.

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John Norman, historian and chairman of the Ipswich Society, said: “We don’t know what’s happening there nor why Max Hembry is doing this, but if it’s to provide rear access at the side, and therefore to the back, that would be brilliant.

“All in all we approve of the work and are very supportive of it, so let’s see what happens.”

A report on the Ipswich Borough Council website states that weather-proofing work was last carried out in 2004.

A spokesman from Ipswich Borough Council added: “We are delighted at the weather-proofing work and improvements to the building being made.

“It is an important and very attractive building and we look forward to speaking to the company about future plans.”

A spokesman from Cardinal Lofts was unavailable for comment.

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