New hall plans for historic parkland after 'tragic' demolition

Henham Park

Henham Park, where outline planning permission has been granted to build a new hall at the northern side. - Credit: Google Maps

A new hall could be built on historic parkland to replace a Georgian building "tragically" bulldozed almost 70 years ago.

East Suffolk Council's northern planning committee gave the green light for a new hall to be built at Henham Park following a meeting on Tuesday, July 13.

The plans could see the latest hall in northern end of the 815 acre site, which has been owned by the same family since 1544 and will welcome thousands of visitors for Latitude Festival next week, after the original Tudor hall was destroyed by fire in 1773. 

A replacement, built in the 1790s, was demolished in 1953.

Applicant Hektor Rous said: "I am so keen to fulfil the landscape, and that is what this comes down to since the old hall was knocked down.

"There has always been a void in the middle of the park, and I am so keen to continue restoring the property.


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"I am pleased with the design and I think it will be a great place to live."

A report prepared for councillors ahead of the meeting states the building is a "contemporary interpretation of a grand hall," and will incorporate solar technology and sustainable water usage.

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It adds: "The proposals for a new Hall would seek to restore and enhance the listed historic parkland, as large significant family homes represent key elements of these landscapes, and which, in the case of Henham Park, was lost in 1953 when the hall was demolished."

Councillor Norman Brooks said: "I think it's a great design and looks terrific in the setting."

The proposal was approved, despite dividing the council over its design, by eight votes to one.

Councillor Andree Gee said: "Rather like the beach huts in Lowestoft I had great hopes for a renaissance of this property.

"It was a tragedy and an absolute crime the Georgian buildings were knocked down in the 50s, but that was happening across the country and what's done is done.

"I have to say, as with the beach huts, it's too modern in design for the setting and, to me, it looks like an industrial unit so I'm quite disappointed."

Councillor Malcolm Pitchers added: "I love the building, it is superb, but I do find it rather incongruous where it will be.

"It is such a modern building in a historic park."

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