The Corn Exchange was built in 1872. Situated at the rear of the NatWest Bank, it was the main venue for the town’s big social occasions and fulfilled this function to a considerable extent until its closure in the middle of the 20th century. Since then it has had several uses, none of which lasted or made much of the building’s potential value. It has stood sad and semi-derelict for many years.
We are turning this neglected, disused building into an exciting and inspirational Arts Centre through a series of phased works.
Phase 1, which was completed in December 2010, has provided a disabled toilet, kitchenette, electrics, doors, access ramp and lighting. It stopped further deterioration and turned the dilapidated building into something useable for a small range of events.
Phase 2, completed in late 2011, was largely funded through the successful People’s Millions campaign. During this phase electric automatic opening double doors were installed and stained glass windows were put into the main elevation and the fire escape was tidied up. This enabled us to use the building for a wider range of functions and to help the community to be part of further development.
Phase 3, involved a Student Design Ideas competition run in association with the East of England RIBA and Suffolk Association of Architects. This significant phase of the project was completed in January 2013. During this phase a mezzanine floor was installed to provide practice and workshop space, cafe & bar, and we created a top-quality practice and performance space. The first event in the new look arts centre took place on Friday 1st Febryary 2013.