Decision to delay town centre demolitions decision disappoints Haverhill business man

Christopher Gurteen pictured outside The Northern Light factory at Gurteen in Haverhill.
Christopher Gurteen pictured outside The Northern Light factory at Gurteen in Haverhill.

A Haverhill businessman has expressed his disappointment at a council to defer a decision on a town centre factory building.

A decision on whether or not to demolish an old factory building in Haverhill’s Chauntry Mills was deferred at a meeting of the St Edmundsbury Borough Council development control committee on March 5.

The decision on building eight, an old sewing factory that is one of a series of northern light buildings on site, will be postponed until the town masterplan has been completed in September.

Christopher Gurteen, a director at Haverhill clothing firm Gurteen, based at Chauntry Mills, was disappointed by the decision.

“I don’t think the people making complaints about this understand what we are trying to do,” he said. “It’s only the bit at the back we want to knock down, not the whole building.

“Maybe about 60 per cent of the light factories would remain. We won’t be losing any heritage.

“We have got 150 year old factory buildings that are totally useless for today’s modern needs.

“We want to develop the main gothic building into offices. We believe that if we can get building eight down, we can show off the French Gothic building and have it accessible from all sides.”

Councillor Maureen Byrne said: “I’m disappointed he can’t wait six months.

“Maybe the building will be demolished after all. I’m not asking people to support or oppose this. I’m saying we should take our time.

“He wants to redevelop the site for all the right reasons, however, we’ve got to look at the heritage in our High Street and make sure we do what’s best for future generations.”

Haverhill resident John Burns, who spoke against the application on behalf of other concerned members of the public highlighted the architectural significance of building eight.

He said: “I think we have to wait until after the masterplan.

“For me, deferment was the best possible option.”