Stoke College reveals £1 million repair plan

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West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock met governors at Stoke College on Friday (June 24) to discuss plans to raise £1 million for essential restoration work

The college is in the process of submitting plans to build six new homes on a secluded corner of its grounds.

It hopes the money raised through this scheme will in turn help fund major repairs to its historic buildings.

Some of the site dates back to the 15th century but fell into neglect after the World War II.

The work will allow historical buildings to be brought back into use, and for the demolition of a temporary classroom block.

Governor John Parcell said: “We’ve saved and cared for these wonderful buildings for 50 years.

“However from the time the college acquired the site there was a backlog of really major repairs, which the college has been trying to deal with.

“We now need help with that, and so we’re trying to raise about £1 million.”

He said detailed plans, which have been drawn up by Savills, had been shown to local residents.

“Lots of people came, there was a good deal of praise, and not a single objection,” Mr Parcell added.

Suffolk architectural historian Leigh Alston said the college buildings feature ‘some of the finest decorative medieval brickwork in Britain,’ and a site of ‘National historical importance.’

The Dean’s House, first established in 1415, was used to train priests.

The last dean, Matthew Parker went on to become Archbishop of Canterbury and was effectively the founder of the Anglican Church.

“It was here that Parker developed the ideas that allowed him, as one of the major figures of the 16th century to create a stable Church of England from the chaos of reformation,” Mr Alston said.

The independent co-education school recently completed works to repairs the dovecote and the school gates after it gained funding from English Heritage.

It is speaking to both English Heritage and St Edmundsbury Borough Council about its latest plans.

Hilary Brightman, the school’s specialist conservation architect said: “The removal of the temporary classrooms will be a significant benefit to the appearance of the whole historic site.”

For all the latest news see Thursday’s (June 30) Echo.