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Work on building causes concern

PUBLISHED: 08:00 26 February 2010 | UPDATED: 09:20 01 August 2010

A BUSINESSMAN has answered concerns over major works on an 18th century building in Beccles.

The building on Blyburgate, which was in recent years a car shop, is undergoing remodelling work to be turned into a shop and a flat, with the building behind being converted into a house.

A BUSINESSMAN has answered concerns over major works on an 18th century building in Beccles.

The building on Blyburgate, which was in recent years a car shop, is undergoing remodelling work to be turned into a shop and a flat, with the building behind being converted into a house.

Members of the town council's planning committee voiced their concerns about building work starting before a decision on the planning application, and about the design. The building, although not listed, is within Beccles Conservation Area.

Brian Taylor said: “They are changing the frontage to such a degree the building isn't going to be the same as it was when they started.”

But Douglas Peck said: “What are we going to do with these old buildings, let them fall down?”

Councillors recommended refusal of the work, saying it was out of street scape.

Owner Richard Godfrey, who also owns Twyford's café in Beccles, said great care was being taken to reinstate a traditional style, including re-inserting two small dormer windows, as well as keeping original features such as fireplaces.

He said work had started urgently before the planning application had been decided, which is not a planning offence and is at his own risk, because parts of the building were found to be unsafe, including the roof. He said he was in close co-operation with Waveney District Council.

Mr Godfrey said the building, which closed as the Red Lion pub in 1959, had fallen into disrepair over the last half-century, adding: “Just because something is old doesn't mean it was well-built.

“We are investing a six-figure sum in the building to restore it. Anything we could keep, we would. What we are doing is positive for the town.”

A Waveney spokesman said it was likely that the proposals will be recommended for planning approval.

He said that in some cases it was right to undertake demolition, adding: “For example in this case, to undo unfortunate modern works to a building's facade. The drawn scheme shows a much better, more traditional front elevation than has existed here in recent decades.”

Mr Godfrey said the works should be completed by mid-April, and that as yet there was no tenant lined up.

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