River Stour Trust re-opens The Granary in Sudbury as £52,000 refurbishment pays off
Celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stour River Trust were topped off last weekend by the official reopening of The Granary in Sudbury.
There were two ribbon-cutting ceremonies – one for The Granary’s refurbishment and one for the relaunch of the trust’s boat trip for people with disabilities.
Trust vice-president Emrhys Barrell said: “The refurbishment took around six months to complete at a cost of £52,000.
“It is for the community and can be used by clubs and groups and rented at low-cost for weddings and events. It is a Babergh asset and we lease it on a 999-year lease.”
Babergh District Council vice-chairman Adrian Osborne gave a speech at the event.
Afterwards, residents were given the opportunity to take a half-price trip along the river, with children and people with disabilities travelling free as part of the celebratory event.
Visitors were able to use the refurbished Granary tea room and enjoy tea and cakes alongside the river.
The 18th century Granary in Quay Lane was last restored by volunteers from the trust in the 1980s and its refurbishment is regarded as a significant achievement in its history.
“In 1968, Anglian Water sought to have the right of navigation extinguished by an act of Parliament, but the newly-formed River Stour Trust fought the application and, in a landmark case in the House of Lords, the right of navigation was maintained,” said Mr Barrell.
“Since then the volunteers of the trust have worked tirelessly to restore the waterway to be enjoyed by all, and have achieved a long list of successes.
“They rescued and restored the historic Granary building, built a new lock at Great Cornard, built a visitor and education centre at Great Cornard, reopened two of the locks at Flatford and Dedham, built two new slipways, and opened a riverside picnic area at Cattawade.”
He added: “The annual Sudbury to the Sea canoe weekend attracts more than 500 entrants and is real highlight of our calendar.”
Sudbury is one of many towns on the 25-mile long River Stour, running from Sudbury to the sea at Manningtree.
Its locks and barges were made famous by John Constable’s many paintings in the 19th century and cargoes included bricks from the brickworks at Ballingdon, with flour, wheat and agricultural products sent to London.