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Tymperleys will become a tearoom by next spring
6:00am Friday 27th December 2013 in News
ONE of Colchester’s most historic buildings will finally reopen as a tearoom and events venue next spring – three-and-a-years after it was shut by Colchester Council.
Nicholas and Sheila Charrington, who run and live at Layer Marney Tower, have signed a £310,000 deal to take on a 125-year lease for Tymperleys.
The couple were granted planning permission to turn the buildings and garden into a tearoom that can be hired for private events.
The former museum housed a collection of clocks and was shut by Colchester Council to save money in October 2010.
Mrs Charrington said they hope to start serving the first afternoon teas and lunches by the end of March.
She said: “It’s such a beautiful place and we’re very excited about it. The tearoom is going to be open throughout the day and people can hire it for whatever they fancy later in the evening.
“It has to be discussed further, but if we can get one or two of the clocks back that will be lovely.”
Some of the clocks are on display in Hollytrees Museum and the rest are in storage.
When the building closed the council advertised it to interested parties and chose Wilkin & Sons to turn it into a tearoom.
The Tiptree jam-makers withdrew after a long-running dispute over access to what remains of the listed 16th Century building, which was once the home of William Gilberd.
The council then approached the Charringtons, who were runners-up to Wilkin & Sons. They agreed a deal in June to take the building on, subject to planning permission.
The access issue has been resolved.
Mr Charrington said: “The process has taken quite a long time, but I believe the outcome is a good one for Colchester and the glorious buildings and garden at Tymperleys.
“The experience we have gained at Layer Marney Tower will certainly help us in our work at Tymperleys – dealing with old buildings requires patience, determination – and awareness the final bill may well be higher than originally expected.”
Paul Smith, councillor responsible for business, said: “We believe they have the right offer and experience to give the building a new lease of life and increase the town’s offering to residents and visitors.
I am confident it will be a success.”
The Charringtons and council representatives will unveil their plans at Tymperleys on January 7 and 8, from 10am until 4pm.
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