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Stowmarket Corn Exchange offer accepted

PUBLISHED: 10:38 12 April 2007 | UPDATED: 08:39 02 March 2010

Stowmarket Corn Exchange

Stowmarket Corn Exchange

TOWN leaders have voted to accept an offer of £250,000 for their Corn Exchange from developers, sparking fears that it will be lost to the community forever.

COUNCILLORS have voted to accept an offer of £250,000 for their town's Corn Exchange from developers, sparking fears that it will be lost to the community forever.

Stowmarket Town Council, meeting in their chambers in Milton Road South, yesterday voted by seven to four to sell the building in Church Walk and pour money into the council's coffers, funding a potential spending spree.

Top of the list are improvements at the Regal Theatre and the town's community centre.

Gordon Paton, town councillor, said: “We should accept this offer. We bought it 13 years ago for £50,000 for the community and planned to celebrate the Millennium by creating a community hall.

“But there has been a legal dispute and structural problems, and our project was not successful.”

However, Marilyn Finbow, a councillor who served on the council when it bought the exchange and whose dreams of converting it into public use are now in tatters, said: “To sell off our assets is dreadfully wrong.”

It has emerged any development could be strictly controlled, as English Heritage have been approached about listing the building.

A spokeswoman for English Heritage said: “We have received an application to list the Corn Exchange at Stowmarket and one of our inspectors will visit the property shortly to make their assessment.

“We will then advise the Department for Culture Media and Sport for the Secretary of State to make the final decision on listing the building.”

Richard Ward, director for the Suffolk Preservation Society, is among those supporting the move to list it and he said: “We feel it warrants being listed, it's in the town centre and has some classic architecture. “If listed its exterior and interior which are important would be preserved and protected, whatever new use is found for it.”

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