Bid to save town corn exchange

Parents campaigned against the closure of Hadleigh children's centre at the Corn Exchange. ANL-140716-142926001
Parents campaigned against the closure of Hadleigh children's centre at the Corn Exchange. ANL-140716-142926001
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Hadleigh town council may bid for the town’s corn exchange after owners Suffolk County Council decided to dispose of the building.

The town council first successfully put a bid in to have the property listed as an asset of community value last year after hearing rumours it may come up for sale.

In July plans were announced to close the Brett River Children’s Centre which used the building, with the doors shut for the final time in March.

Then in April the county council announced it was to sell the site.

“It’s always had community things in there and been very much part of the town,” said Carol Bailey, clerk of Hadleigh Town Council.

“We didn’t want it to be lost to perhaps a pub that’s why we had it listed, not knowing a few months later it was going to be put up for sale.”

With the council preparing for the elections an extraordinary meeting had to be called on April 30, to see whether councillors wanted to express an interest in purchasing the site.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour, leading to a six month moratorium on the sale for the council to work out what it wanted to do with the building and to raise the money.

“We have lost East House, we know that,” said Mrs Bailey. “To lose another central building to the town would be awful.”

Mrs Bailey said she believed the council would have enough funding to purchase the building and hoped to hold an open day event for community groups and individuals to come and have a look at the property to see what it could be used for.

As well as a hall in the middle there are six offices, which the clerk suggested could be used by charities or even rented out to Hadleigh businesses.

“The idea is to keep it for regular community use,” she said.

The decision on whether to raise the funds to purchase the property will be taken by the new council, who have until October 20, to ready any bid.

Despite having it listed as an asset of community value the council’s bid will be given no preference and could still be gazumped, however, Mrs Bailey hopes the lack of parking and the need for extensive roof repairs would put off rival bidders.