Historic hall ‘needs urgent repairs’, officials warned
Significant repairs are needed at a stately home near Downham in order to prevent more serious, long term damage, a report has warned.
Listed building consent is being sought for renovations to Oxburgh Hall, which officials say are necessary to protect the 15th century building for the future.
Planning documents submitted to Breckland Council said “serious concerns” about the condition of some parts of the building, which is owned by the National Trust, had been identified following a detailed survey.
They added:”There is an urgent need to undertake further intrusive investigations, appropriate repairs, remedial and preventative works for the safety of visitors and staff and for the preservation of the historic fabric and significance of Oxburgh Hall.”
The latest application follows two rounds of repairs carried out after one of the hall’s dormer windows collapsed two years ago.
The report said there was “visible evidence of beetle infestation”, which is thought to have caused the collapse, in other areas of the building and further investigations were needed to establish the scale of the problem.
The document also identifies a raft of other repairs which were recommended to be carried out over timescales ranging from immediate to 10 years into the future.
It said most of the works identified would be carried out within this project, including roof access alterations to enable future maintenance work to take place.
The report added: “The proposals suggested will have a high impact upon highly significant elements of the building.
“However, the impact of this is much lower than the potential impact of not doing these works.
“The potential impact of no works would result in a high impact (and likely loss) of fabric to the building, collection within the building whilst endangering the safety of the public and staff using the building.
“We recommend that the Local Authority approves the described extent of works and access proposals.
“This will ensure the roof is kept in a good condition and protect the roof structure, the building fabric and its contents for years to come.”
A decision on the application could be made within the next few weeks.