A Suffolk town is facing an 'absolute tragedy' if a recreation of Sutton Hoo's world-famous longship is forced to move to new premises, the project's trustee has warned.

Sean McMillan, trustee and chair of The Sutton Hoo Ship's Company (SHSC), said the project was facing an 'effective eviction' from its current home at The Longshed in Tide Mill Way, Woodbridge, following a long-running dispute with Woodbridge Riverside Trust, which holds the lease for The Longshed.

He also feared the ship, which is two years from launch, could be set back a further two years if new premises had to be found because of the 'huge amount of costs and disruption' involved.

READ MORE: Sutton Hoo ship now has a backbone

The trust, which leases the property from the landlord, Woodbridge Town Council, had licensed the Longshed to the SHSC, with the latter reaching an agreement by side-letter with the town council to use 75% of the ground floor for a period of three years.

But this permission is due to end in July, after which the SHSC will only be able to use 40% of the floor space.

Mr McMillan said the growing vessel alone would occupy this 40%, leaving no space for the volunteer workers and their tools and materials, as well as the thousands of annual visitors.

The backbone of the longship was completed in August 2023The backbone of the longship was completed in August 2023 (Image: PA) He added: "It would cost a huge amount of money if we had to move. I think the biggest implication would be that this would be an absolute tragedy for Woodbridge.

READ MORE: Backbone of Sutton Hoo replica complete after delay

"It is a huge part of Woodbridge's heritage. Shops and restaurants all depend on the ship's footfall. It would be a disaster for Woodbridge."

However, in a statement, the trust said SHSC had been 'reminded in writing several times since January' of the need to apply to renew the 75% floor space provision, but SHSC had 'chosen not to apply'.

A spokesperson for the trust said: "Woodbridge Riverside Trust (WRT) actively want the SHSC project to succeed and for the ship to be built in and launched from The Longshed.

The Longshed has been home to the longship since the project started seven years agoThe Longshed has been home to the longship since the project started seven years ago (Image: Jan Pulsford) READ MORE: Woodbridge news

"If SHSC decide to lose some of the current space they have (from July 14) by not applying to WRT to facilitate the renewal of the side-letter with the town council, that is their choice. It will be of their doing and not the doing of others."

The project to build an 88ft long replica of the famous Sutton Hoo ship, which was found buried in 1939, was started seven years ago and has now reached the stage where wooden planks are being completed for the hull.

READ MORE: Suffolk news