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Heritage sites in Hedingham and Sudbury ‘at risk’

Kersey Mill ANL-150601-203102009
Kersey Mill ANL-150601-203102009

Three local sites have been put on Historic England’s ‘at risk’ list, warning they could fall into a state of disrepair.

Wood Hall Moat in Sudbury, Swan Street in Sible Hedingham and the Roman villa in Gestingthorpe have all been put on the ‘at risk’ list, however Kersey Mill has now been removed.

Over the past year Historic England has offered £1.7million in grants to help 28 of the region’s historic sites.

John Neale, acting planning director for Historic England in the East of England, said: “From historic landscapes to industrial buildings and military heritage, there are many challenges when sites become at risk.

“Historic England continues to invest grant aid and to dedicate time and expertise working with owners, developers and communities to find solutions to rescue precious sites in the East of England so people can continue to enjoy them and the stories they tell about our past.

“This year we have removed 49 sites from the register including imaginative restoration projects such Kersey Mill, but there is still more to do especially as the cost of conservation and rescue is increasing.”

Grade II-listed Kersey Mill was added to the Heritage at risk register in 2014, after deteriorating for many decades.

New owners acquired the building in 2012 and sought a sustainable solution to the structural issues and overall poor condition faced by the mill.

John Whitmore and Sons built the original section of the mill in 1810. It was later enlarged in 1868 with the introduction of a steam engine, large bolters and an elevator.

The milling machinery is still virtually complete.

The mill also has an iron waterwheel and the wheel pit has already been carefully repaired by the current owners.

The building is still substantially original, despite being subject to repairs over the years. However, a structural survey in summer 2015 discovered that two full-height principal posts, one axial beam and substantial areas of flooring were severely rotted and at risk of collapse.

A leaky valley gutter and poor roof covering contributed to the rate of decay. The mill required urgent structural repairs and Historic England gave an £80,000 grant towards these works.

These repairs were completed this summer, resulting in a nomination for a Historic England Angel Award and removal from the at risk register.

The owner’s ultimate aim is to restore all the machinery to enable milling once again.

Historic England has said the main problems at Wood Hall Moat are scrub and tree growth.

Wood Hall was a timber framed house. The site is just north of Woodhall Business Park in Sudbury and the moat and earthwork is still visible there.

At Gestingthorpe Roman Villa the main problems highlighted are unlicensed metal detecting, with archeological work on the site continuing.

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