A council has intervened to prevent the Corn Exchange in Haverhill from falling into further disrepair.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council has served a legal notice which could see it carry out repair work on the building in Withersfield Road, recovering the costs when it is eventually sold.
The ‘urgent works notice’ gives the owner seven days to agree to undertake a list of repairs before the council intervenes and carries out the work itself.
The Grade II-listed building, which lies within the town conservation area, has been on the market for several years.
Christine Leveson, the borough council’s principal conservation officer, said: “This building is an important part of the history of Haverhill and a well-known local landmark.
“Unfortunately, the sale of the building has been very slow and meanwhile the building is continuing to suffer.
“The council is therefore preparing to use its powers to get the building weather-tight and secure until such time as it is sold.”
Haverhill Town Council has proposed buying the property to turn it into a multi-use venue modelled on Stowmarket’s John Peel Centre and has welcomed the borough’s ‘decisive action’ following months of stalemate with the owners.
Colin Poole, town council clerk, said: “The town council remains committed to the proposal to purchase this building once the vendor is in a position to sell.
“Making sure the building does not deteriorate any further in the meantime is important both for the town’s heritage and to prevent extra expenditure on refurbishment, should the town council be successful in acquiring the building.”