Fresh start for historic property following Council intervention

An abandoned Wisbech property is set for a fresh start just months after Fenland District Council took legal action to secure its future.

Historic Ely House was sold at auction earlier this month to new owners who plan to refurbish the property into a family home.

The news comes just six months after the Council successfully secured a Closure Order to protect nearby residents from persistent criminal activity on the premises and to safeguard the Grade II-listed property from further deterioration.

The Order also reduced the demand placed on emergency services to attend the Lynn Road property following a series of issues including anti-social behaviour, fires being set alight, vandalism and drug and alcohol abuse.

The Council originally secured a three-month order from Cambridge Magistrates' Court in August last year, making it illegal for anyone without authority to access the house. A three-month extension was also granted by the courts in November.

Now, with reports of anti-social behaviour and criminality having dropped and the new owners already starting works on the site, a Closure Order is no longer necessary.

Cllr Susan Wallwork, Fenland District Council's Portfolio Holder for Communities, said: "I'm over the moon the property has been purchased and the new owners are already being proactive in its care. It's fantastic news after many months of hard work.

"I'd like to thank Council officers for their efforts gathering the evidence needed to secure the Closure Order, local residents and Wisbech councillors for their support and intelligence throughout this process, and our partners including the police and fire service. We all look forward to Ely House being restored and the community feeling more at peace."

Cllr Chris Seaton, Portfolio Holder for Social Mobility and Heritage, added: "Ely House is reputed to be the oldest residential property in Wisbech, dating back to the 17th Century. As with any historic building, it is sad when they are abandoned and left to fall into disrepair.

"I'm delighted we were able to take action, to not only provide respite to the local community, but to protect the building's heritage and help bring it back into proper use."

The new owners are now working with the Council's planning and conservation teams to commence the refurbishment works. Fencing surrounding the site will remain in situ whilst works are undertaken.

Article added: January 27, 2020

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