Finchingfield Guildhall damaged by vehicles weeks after re-opening following £1.8m restoration
- Credit: Archant
Trustees of the Finchingfield Guildhall have been left disheartened after the newly-restored building was hit by vehicles twice within the space of a month.
The Grade I listed building, on Church Hill, has undergone a significant £1.8million restoration project, bringing it back into community use after it was declared ‘At Risk’ by English Heritage in 2006. The building was reopened to the public in August.
However, the part of the building which overhangs into the road has been hit twice, on October 7 and again on Saturday (November 2). Although the first incident was less severe, the crash at the weekend caused cosmetic damage to the outside of the building.
Chairman of Trustees, Rev Colin Wilson, said: “This is all the more disappointing because of the inevitability of it all. We sought professional advice while the restoration project was under way on ways to better safeguard the building. All our proposals were rejected by the authorities, leaving the building vulnerable.
“Repairs will no doubt involve scaffolding and traffic lights again on Church Hill, which will inconvenience people once again.”
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Trustee Jeremy Toynbee added: “The team put in many hours to get the Guildhall finished – and we all breathed a sigh of relief when it was – so it is really sad for us to see it like this.”
Discussions are due to take place between the parish council and trustees to decide a suitable course of action, and will be liaising with Essex County Council’s highway authority.
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Mr Toynbee suggested improvements could be made to the signs warning drivers about the overhanging building.
Town clerk Kate fox said: “It is such a shame because people are working so hard to make it a really great community building. The council will be meeting with the trustees shortly to discuss what to do.”