2014: Conversion of Grade II listed water tower to begin as soon as possible

As published by East Anglian Daily Times, 26 July 2014

The conversion of a Grade II listed water tower into a six storey family home is hoped to begin “as soon as possible” after amended plans were given the go ahead. Architects redeveloping the 22-metre tall tower opposite Aldeburgh community hospital said work could begin as early as September after permission was granted on Wednesday.

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Aldeburgh Water Tower in Park Road. Copyright EADT 2014

Suffolk Coastal District Council’s north area planning committee chairman Debbie McCallum said the proposals were “extremely exciting”. She described the project as a “labour of love” after learning that it was being carried out in memory of the owner’s dead wife.

The application, which will see the 19th Century landmark fitted out with living space over six storeys, was first approved in 2012. Then, the proposal was for a minimalist “glass cube” to be built around its ground floor with a roof terrace at the top. Resubmitted plans have replaced the cube with three copper clad “modules” around the north, east and west of the tower and include alterations to the basement wine cellar.

The planning officer’s report identified the alterations as being “slightly more beneficial in terms of its relationship with the neighbouring amenity”.

Solicitors on behalf of the hospital, however, raised concerns about the development’s “unacceptable detrimental impact on the staff and residents” and called for a “construction management plan” to be submitted before work begins, addressing difficulties over contractor parking, access, noise and dust. The League of Friends of Aldeburgh and District Community Hospital also submitted concerns about disruption and privacy.

Committee members, however, welcomed the application, which they felt would preserve an important building that might otherwise be left to deteriorate.

Councillor Michael Gower said: “Someone is willing to put a great deal of money in to preserve the building when there are no other offers on the table. This is the sort of building that in other towns can easily remain empty with bits falling off. It’s great to see that in Aldeburgh the building will be preserved and put to use.”

Dominic Goldfinger, of Polyhedron Architecture Ltd, told the committee he was keen to begin work “as soon as possible” and expected the project to take between 10 and 15 months to complete.

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