Sudbury town centre rebuilds after the fire

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Following a fierce fire on Friar’s Street in Sudbury Town Centre on Sunday night, the town community has rallied round to help those affected.

About 20 people were evacuated from premises affected by the fire, which was finally extinguished at 13.40 today, although a team from the Fire and Rescue Service will remain on scene until tomorrow as a precaution. While most residents were able to find places with friends or family, Babergh District Council has found temporary accommodation for seven households, all within Sudbury.

While the heart of the fire was in the building that housed Oxfam and Celebrity Nails on Friars Street, a number of properties on both Friars Street and Gainsborough Street have been affected and have suffered structural damage, rendering them unsafe. Sadly two commercial properties and the residential flats above have been completely destroyed,

Babergh’s Building Control team has been working closely with the emergency services to determine how severe the damage has been to the remaining buildings affected by the fire.

Businesses throughout Sudbury remain open despite the fire and while nine businesses have been unable to return to trade from their premises due to the fire, Babergh District Council is working closely with them to help find alternative accommodation shortly. There are also plans for a pop-up location on Market Hill for HSBC to allow them to continue providing banking services in the town.

The community has offered tremendous support, with donations of cash and of clothing pouring in to a variety of collectors in the Town Centre. For those wishing to make a donation, Sudbury Town Hall is accepting cash donations to help those affected by the fire, which can be delivered to the Town Hall’s front desk accessible on Gaol Lane.

While all of those who have been unable to return to their homes have been found temporary accommodation, Babergh District Council is now considering the longer term, especially for those whose homes have been destroyed. The Council is appealing for private landlords who own property in Sudbury to contact their Homelessness team on 01473 825 757, who may be able to put them in contact with residents looking for alternative properties. Those affected by the fire will all be eligible for the Council’s Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

Simon Barrett, District Council member for Sudbury (South) and Vice Chairman of Babergh District Council’s Strategy Committee, said: “The response from the Sudbury community has been incredible, with offers of everything from clothing to spare rooms. All the donations will help make the lives of those affected slightly easier. Now that everyone who needs short term accommodation has found it, we’re beginning to think about the long term and how we can make sure Sudbury remains open for business, continuing to deliver the goods and services the community needs.”