Anger over repair work at Sutton’s Wilkinson building

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A SUTTON resident has reacted with anger after the historic stone work on the front of the town’s Wilkinson building was altered as part of its ongoing repairs.

Eagle-eyed Kevin Acton has taken these pictures of the Outram Street store before the work started last year and after the scaffolding was taken down this month.

As well as being given a lick of paint, the pictures reveal that some of the stonework - including a date stone which indicated that the building dates back to the 1920s - has been removed.

Mr Acton, who is part of the Save Sutton Baths campaign group which is aiming to preserve the former swimming pool building on Brook Street, said he first became aware of the alterations after someone pointed it out on social networking site Facebook.

He said he was ‘horrified’ by the alterations.

“They have destroyed the character of the building,” he said.

“I just think we are losing too much of our heritage.

“It was in a dangerous condition - I noticed it leaning myself - but you don’t have to destroy all of a building. I don’t know what has happened to the masonry work.”

And he added: “Frankly, the amount of time they have been up there, they could have rebuilt the building.”

Yesterday, a spokesman for Wilkinson said that bosses at the firm had been made aware of concerns about the refurbishment and re-branding of the store - but he reassured shoppers they have done everything possible to retain important elements of the building façade in line with planning advice.

He said: “We worked very hard to conserve the original features but, in liaison with local planning officials and expert contractors, we have had to take certain steps to ensure the building is safe and, unfortunately, some of the original stonework was too heavy to be safely retained.

“We love being in Sutton and hope our loyal customers will enjoy their new shopping experience.”

A spokesman from Ashfield District Council said: “Wilkinsons approached the council regarding making repairs to their building as parts of the façade had become unsafe.