Historic landmarks to get facelift

PUBLISHED: 08:02 07 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:58 22 October 2010

A Suffolk market town has received a double boost with news on two major renovation projects.

A Suffolk market town received a double boost yesterday, with news on two major renovation projects.

Two historic landmark buildings in Brandon are set to be brought into the 21st century following positive reports from Forest Heath District Council.

The Old School House, in Market Hill, will receive a complete refurbishment after its town council owner was given the go-ahead by planners.

Another historic building, the Old Fire Station, in London Road, is also set to get a new lease of life after district officials recommended its sale to the Brandon Community Partnership Trust.

Town councillors expressed their glee yesterday after gaining planning permission to refurbish their Victorian school house headquarters and improve disabled access.

The council has been campaigning for years to make the two-storey Old School House more wheelchair-friendly after it was forced to hold its meetings at more accessible venues in Brandon.

The package of works will include the construction of a lift, widening of doors, formation of more office space, and a new council chamber. The "shabby" interior of the 19th-century house will also receive a complete refit.

Chairman Reg Silvester said he was "delighted" with the news and was hopeful that work could start in spring 2007. He added that the town council had been saving for the development, which will cost thousands of pounds.

"We are very excited because it is a majestic, old building overlooking the square. It will cost a lot of money, but it has not been properly taken care of for a number of years and old buildings need considerable care. Town councils seem to be taking on more responsibilities and we need this for the future," he said.

Town councillors have also approved a £2,000 project to refurbish the 1878 town clock, which stopped chiming years ago.

Members of the Brandon Community Partnership Trust also had cause for celebration yesterday after Forest Heath council moved closer to selling the Old Fire Station, in London Road, for £20,000.

The decision is expected to be rubberstamped next week, which will allow the group to transform the derelict former toilet and station into a learning resource centre and reinstate its former appearance as a fire engine house of 100 years ago. Funds from the sale will be pumped straight back into community projects in Brandon.

Chairman Bill Bishop said: "We have been trying to get this building for six years, so it is very good news for Brandon and will be a great asset for the town."

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