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Flats win Beccles building award

PUBLISHED: 09:00 03 July 2009 | UPDATED: 08:19 01 August 2010

GOSFORD Heights, a 1960s grain silo that has been transformed into 25 flats and an elegant Beccles landmark, has scooped this year's Dr Nicholson Award.

GOSFORD Heights, a 1960s grain silo that has been transformed into 25 flats and an elegant Beccles landmark, has scooped this year's Dr Nicholson Award.

The award is made by the Beccles Society for private or commercial developments that add to the town's character, particularly buildings that enhance, preserve or extend the history of the town.

The Gosford Heights project was created by Wellington Construction on behalf of clients Flagship Housing.

The building ceased oper-ating as a silo in the 1980s and was left derelict. Now, it consists of 22 shared- ownership apartments and three private penthouses that were added to the top.

Beccles Society members voted unanimously that it should win this year's award.

Bob Aris, of the society, said adding the penthouses was a particular stroke of genius as it improved the proportions of the building: “It is rare that modifying such an awkward historical building generates a new and useful life,” he added. “Demolition would have been the obvious option, damaging the character of Gosford Road, whereas this project fully acknowledges Beccles's industrial past and contributes to its future.”

Wellington Construction's director, Paul Pitcher, was at Gosford Heights to pick up the award. He said: “It makes years of planning and hard work worth it.

“The town is very dear to me, and it's nice to give something back.

“It was the vision of a guy called Philip Oldman, a director of Wellington. He first walked into the building five years ago and thought: 'We could convert these into apartments.' He spoke to the planners and they were very supportive of it.

“Flagship Housing became involved, and we worked for them in the project to convert it into 22 shared-ownership apartments. Our site manager Roy Tucker's input and enthusiasm for the project was incredible.”

Gosford Heights follows in the footsteps of the Waveney House Hotel, in Puddingmoor, Prezzo, in Saltgate, and, most recently, Eileen Crisp Court, on the junction of Peddar's Lane and Blyburgate, which have all won the award.

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