Thornham Coal Barn up for sale

A coastal landmark has come up for sale, as its owner abandons plans to turn it into an arts centre.

They say smugglers once plied their trade in the creeks that criss cross the salt marsh. Now the Coal Barn is almost all that remains of Thornham's once-bustling harbour.

Artist Luisa di-Pietro hoped to turn the building, on Staithe Lane, into an arts centre. But it has now been put on the market for �189,000.

Max Sowerby, of agents Sowerbys, said said he gave the 300-year-old building a nine out of 10 rating when it came to interest.

'But the people who can actually think of a purpose for it are a very select group who might buy it and have a use for it,' he said today.

Ms di-Pietro hoped to turn the building into an arts and study centre. She obtained planning permission in 2007, subject to conditions to address flood risk.

Councillors heard the coast was 'crying out' for similar development, before they voted against officers' recommendation to refuse the planning application.

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For a few days of each year, high tides flood the harbour and lap around the barn.