An historically and archaeologically important former brickworks and clay pipeworks is in the process of being sold for conversion into a luxury home.
The old Hoxne Brickworks in Eye Road, Hoxne, has been sold, subject to contract, and features many original buildings, including a kiln, machine shed and drying shed.
Planning permission was given in December for its sympathetic conversion, which will retain the old structures.
The site was bought by a consortium of local people, who the Diss Express understands were keen to ensure the historic buildings were retained, and the site was not overdeveloped.
Under the company name The Pipeworks Partnership LLP, the group has the site up for sale through estate agents Strutt and Parker. Offers in excess of £420,000 were being asked for the derelict brickworks.
According to planning documents, the site is also an “extremely important Middle Pleistocene archeological site in Europe”. There are also “extraordinary” records of fossil flora and fauna and early humans were also found in the immediate area during archaeological work in the 1970s by a group known as the Bone Diggers.
Dr Margaret Sillis, secretary of the Hoxne Heritage Group said: “We are happy the planners have recognised how important this site is.
“It was derelict and getting to be an eyesore and we see it as a way to preserve the interesting parts of the site.”
She said the heritage group was also shown around the site by its owners, and shown the plans.
Dr Sillis also said that although the site may contain some important archaeological finds, it was understood that the opposite side of the road was potentially more interesting to scientists.
The parish council also approved the plans when consulted last year.
Once numerous in Suffolk, Hoxne’s is a rare example of a surviving brickworks, with evidence that brick making on the site could date back to the 13th or 14th Century.
According to research by the Hoxne Heritage Group, brick and tile works at the site were run by Charles Robinson between 1883 and 1888, and then the Hoxne Brickworks Company took over until 1925, when Banham and Son ran it until 1937.
Clay drainage pipe manufacturing continued until 1965. Hoxne historian Stephen Govier said clay pipe making stopped when there was no more clay left to dig on site. He said it became uneconomical and the manufacturing moved to Gisleham, near Lowestoft. The planning permission is subject to a number of archaeological works on the site which could unearth more history.
Tom Goodley, a partner at Strutt and Parker’s Norwich office said: “In my career of nearly ten years, I have not seen very many opportunities like this.”
The home would be mainly single story, with four bedrooms set in 6.8 acres.