Trust set up to protect historic buildings

MORE than a dozen run-down and crumbling historic buildings in Waveney look set to receive a boost from a newly formed preservation group.

The East Suffolk Building Preservation Trust has been formally set up to protect and preserve 13 buildings in Waveney that are currently on an 'at risk' register.

Some of the buildings are described as being in a very bad condition, with several needing structural repairs. Others are deteriorating and at risk of being lost to a lack of care and maintenance.

Included in the list are:

The former Gisleham Brick and Pipe Works where three down-draught pipe kilns and their two chimney stacks, thought to date back to the late 1940s, require major repairs.

A former fish curing house at 174, St Peter's Street, Lowestoft, which was built in about 1830. The building, which is whitewashed brick and flint with pantile roofing, requires major structural repairs.

Crown Street Hall, in Crown Street West, Lowestoft, which is the former Fisher Theatre, built in 1812. It is still used as a community hall but is said to be in a deteriorating condition.

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The remains of a 14th century monastic college at Castle Road, Mettingham, near Bungay. Flint and rubble walls of the moated enclosure are still visible but it needs preserving as an ancient ruin.

A 18th Century timber-farmed, weather-boarded barn owned by the Henham estate.

The new trust, which is a limited liability company, is now seeking funding to register as a charity.

Once it has charity status it will be able to apply for grants to repair and preserve any of the buildings. The trust could also purchase the buildings as a way of bringing them back into use.

It is hoped that trustees and volunteers will be able to draw on their own professional backgrounds to offer advice on preservation work.

Members include architects, an architectural historian, a surveyor and a conservation officer.

The trust is also being supported by Waveney District Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council and will work closely with Waveney's conservation officer Ruth Summers.

Trust members will also work on preserving buildings at risk in the Suffolk Coastal area, including Greyfriars Monastery at Dunwich.

About one third of Suffolk's buildings at risk are in the Waveney and Suffolk coastal region.

The formation of the trust was welcomed by Andy Smith, Suffolk Coastal cabinet member for planning, who said: 'There are several historically and architecturally important buildings that are at risk of falling into disrepair and being lost forever.'

Anyone who wants to join the trust can email or call 01394 444616.