Historic Queensbury Lodge in Newmarket High Street in danger of collapse
Councillors will be asked to give the green light to urgent work at Queensbury Lodge which, they have been told, is ‘in imminent danger of collapse’.
The Grade II listed Lodge is part of a site belonging to property developer Bill Gredley’s Unex group which, over many years has been the focus of a battle between its owner – who has submitted a number of applications for planning permission, none of which have been granted – and the local authority.
The site includes two further listed properties, Queensbury Cottage and Stables, which together form a historic training yard believed to be the second oldest in Newmarket.
On two occasions since the early 2000s work has been carried out to secure the building, once by Mr Gredley and again last year when the council carried out urgent safety work and recovered the costs from the owner.
The report, which will be considered by West Suffolk Council cabinet on Tuesday, says that council officers are now concerned that the Lodge is in imminent danger of collapse.“The owner has been given the opportunity to carry out the urgent works required in the short term and has declined,” the report adds.
Councillors have been told the preservation of the listed buildings is key to protecting the site allocation under the local plan and providing the opportunity for council officers to secure an acceptable scheme for the development of the site.
The cabinet must decide whether to issue a notice requiring that the work is carried out as a matter of urgency, failing which the council could again do the work and use its powers to reclaim the cost.
Mr Gredley told the Journal that although the council was acting within its rights, his company had held ‘very constructive discussions’ with council planners.
“We have submitted new plans for a comprehensive development of this site which includes Queensbury Lodge, the White Lion and land behind, and the Shell site with a complete refurbishment of Queensbury Lodge.
“These plans are with the council and we believe they would bring the west end of Newmarket up to a bright new place.”
More by this authorTina Murray