Historic building shored up to protect public safety

15 Apr 2019

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Emergency measures in the interests of public safety have been taken to prevent an historic listed building causing danger to the public.

West Suffolk Council Building Control Service was called to Queensbury Lodge on Tuesday 9 April after an independent structural engineer found that the building had become a dangerous structure. The service contacted the property owner to arrange for the building to be made safe, including shoring up the facade abutting the High Street. The owner declined to undertake the work and so using emergency powers, the building control service is ensuring appropriate scaffolding is put in place prior to further necessary works being carried out.

Barriers have been placed on the footpath preventing pedestrians from walking beneath the wall, and shoring up will begin as soon as possible. These will remain in place until a way forward can be found for making the building safe.

Queensbury Lodge on Newmarket High Street is thought to be the second oldest stable yard in the town after Palace House. It is a listed building on the Suffolk historic buildings at risk register and occupies a prominent place on the High Street. Historic England advise on the maintenance and upkeep of listed buildings and have been approached by West Suffolk Council in this regard.

On 9 April council officers were on site in their conservation role with a structural engineer commissioned to prepare a report on the condition of the property. It was immediately apparent that it had deteriorated and is now a dangerous structure. The engineer then called in the council building control service who agreed that immediate action was needed in the interests of public safety.

A council spokesperson said,

‘We contacted the owner to advise them of the condition of the property and the immediate action they needed to take. They declined to undertake the work, so acting in the interests of public safety, the council has used its emergency powers to shore up the structure. This will not prevent further deterioration and will only exacerbate the appearance of the site. We have been working with the owners for some time to find an acceptable form of development. Over the years, the site’s owners have proposed various options for bringing the site back into use and these have been considered through the planning process, including 22 unsuccessful applications and 13 appeals. We continue to talk to the owners about their responsibility for the property and a way to bring the site back into a viable use.’

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