Wicken House sold to developers

PUBLISHED: 17:30 01 April 2009 | UPDATED: 21:44 31 May 2010

Wicken House,Wicken Bonhunt.

Wicken House,Wicken Bonhunt.

A DEAL to sell a former residential study centre for young people to developers has been concluded. Wicken House in Wicken Bonhunt has been sold to Stansted-based developers City & Country for an undisclosed sum. Essex County Councillor Ray Gooding said

A DEAL to sell a former residential study centre for young people to developers has been concluded.

Wicken House in Wicken Bonhunt has been sold to Stansted-based developers City & Country for an undisclosed sum.

Essex County Councillor Ray Gooding said: "Because of the economic downturn the sale of Wicken House has been quite long and drawn out, but I am confident that the county council has secured a good deal.

"A lot of people objected to the sale of the property, but the truth is it would have cost us about £600,000 to bring the building up to the standard required by the Disability Discrimination Act and that money has been better spent benefitting young people in Essex."

As part of the deal Wicken Bonhunt will receive about £80,000 to spend on youth services in the village.

Chairman of Wicken Bonhunt parish meeting Fabien Bullen said: "It is likely the money will be used to provide recreational services in the village, possibly in conjunction with church."

Chief Executive of restoration at City & Country Tim Sargeant said: "We are very proud to be the new owners of such an important listed building.

"We have worked on many projects in the district and are keen to see that this one is added to our growing portfolio of award-winning developments. One of the options that we are seriously considering is the restoration of the main house into a single family home, but it is very early days.

"However, in the meantime, we are planning to rent out short term the extensive buildings that currently exist on site, including the manor house, an existing dwelling and the coach house."

Save Wicken House campaigner Tim Young said: "It's taken the council a year to sell the building. During that time it could have continued to provide a first-class service to all its users. Instead it has cost the council time and money to keep the building secure, which could have been better spent on other services."

"This centre is irreplaceable. Promises to build new facilities elsewhere have not yet been kept. The whole affair has been an example of poor planning and bad decision-making.

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