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Council funds £5k feasibility study for Haverhill Corn Exchange

Corn Exchange, Haverhill
Corn Exchange, Haverhill

Haverhill Town Council is taking further steps to find out if it should try to buy the town’s Corn Exchange building.

Councillors arranged a full structural survey of the deteriorating building last year, but the work carried out only cost about a third of the £10,000 they had allocated.

On Tuesday they approved using £5,000 of what remained to fund a first-stage feasibility study and business plan for the Corn Exchange and Arts Centre.

This will tell them which, if any, of their ambitious plans for the Grade II Listed property would work and what the potential cost to taxpayers would be to bring the property back into use.

The neglected building, in Withersfield Road, has stood empty for more than a decade, and now has trees growing out of it, broken windows and pigeons flying in and out.

The council would like to transform it into a flexible space for community use, something it says there is already a need for and would become more important in the future because of the growth planned for the town over the next 15 years.

The only catch is that the building is currently under offer.

But Colin Poole, town council clerk, said the Corn Exchange has had various parties interested in it over the years and none had decided to move forward with their bid.

Previous suggestions have included turning it into a wine bar and restaurant, a computer training centre and also flats with training rooms underneath.

Mr Poole said: “How long do we wait to see if that [current offer] has fallen flat on the floor?

“We don’t want to keep waiting and waiting and doing nothing while the building stays in its current condition.

“People in Haverhill really want to see it brought back into use and our councillors are no different,” he added.

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