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Historic Suffolk workhouse at risk

Plans to knock down a former workhouse building in Wickham Market and replace it with new housing have been criticised by the Victorian Society.

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The owner of Deben Court, formerly known as the Plomesgate Union Workhouse, has applied to build 38 affordable homes on the site near Woodbridge in south east Suffolk.

The property, which was designed in 1835 by the prominent local architect, John Brown, is currently home to 32 housing association properties.

'We want the owner to work on an imaginative solution for the site which provides affordable homes without taking a wrecking ball to the county's heritage', said Chris Costelloe, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'Deben Court is soundly built and architecturally interesting and could be successfully adapted for 21st century living.'

The Plomesgate Union Workhouse was completed in 1836-7 and was designed by the Norwich architect, John Brown (1805-1876). The workhouse closed in 1936 and in 1938 it housed 40 Basque children who were refugees from the Spanish Civil War. 

Suffolk Coastal District Council has applied for the building to be listed. The owners, meanwhile, are submitting an application for immunity from listing, at the same time as the planning application. If such a move is successful it would mean the building couldn't be listed for the next five years.

The Society has written to the Chief Executive of Flagship Homes urging him to rethink plans for the demolition of the former workhouse and instead take a new and more sustainable approach to the historic site.


Monday 29 November, 2010

More recent item: West London development too destructive
Earlier item: Barracks chapel faces new threat

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