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Meeting on fire-ravaged Ewell Court 'extremely positive'
A historic house severely damaged by fire earlier this month will be fully restored Epsom Council pledged on Friday at an "extremely positive" meeting with stakeholders.
Don Scott, chairman of the Ewell Court House Organisation (ECHO), said no firm timescales were given as to when the Grade-II listed mansion will be returned to its former glory, but believes it will take two years.
The meeting of stakeholders was convened to discuss the next steps after the fire which tore through the roof of the house in Ewell in the early hours of December 10.
The representatives who attended the meeting included those from the Ewell Court House Organisation, the Friends of Ewell Court Library, the Friends of Ewell Court Park; the Ewell Court Horticultural Society; the Ewell Court Residents Association, Epsom councillors and the tenants of the building - the Surrey County Council library service, Bambini nursery, Central Surrey Health, Ewell Court Tea Rooms and the plant nursery.
Giving an overview of what was discussed, an Epsom Council spokesman said: "Securing the building is the short-term priority and work to this effect has commenced. Historical artefacts, including artwork, have been removed for safe storage.
"It was noted that tenants of the building were all back in the building.
"The Bambini nursery, who use two floors, currently only have access to the ground floor until a new emergency means of escape from the first floor is installed - it is hoped this can be achieved very early in the New Year."
Councillor Jan Mason, chairman of the leisure committee, made a commitment to fully restore the house as a community facility, which was unanimously supported by those present.
The spokesman said the council will be taking advice from English Heritage and specialist conservation officers.
He added: "The council committed to keep stakeholders fully informed of all news relating to the fire and the restoration of the property through a single point of contact and, when appropriate, by convening another meeting of stakeholders. This was also supported by those present."
The spokesman said the council can still not give a value of the damage as loss adjusters are "still working on this aspect".
He said that a temporary roof - which English Heritage has said should be installed on the building - is due to go up next month.
The spokesman said: "Although this leaves part of the house exposed, it is the area that has sustained significant fire and water damage and this timescale will not have any further detrimental effect on the structure."
Don Scott, chairman of the Ewell Court House Organisation (ECHO), said the representatives came away from the meeting "heartened".
He said: "The meeting was extremely positive. There was an absolute commitment given by the council that the building would be restored. We are hopeful it will happen.
"It’s a very complicated process. The next stage is to waterproof the house and installing a temporary roof and that in itself is a huge job and it’s not expected that this will be done until mid to end of January. Then the house needs to dry out."
Mr Scott said the cause of the fire is still unknown as a fire officer’s report on the incident is still awaited.
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