Could this small shop become a ‘test case’ for homes v shops debate in Wisbech?

A SMALL shop off the town centre could become a test case for a dispute over whether Wisbech needs fewer not more shops.

Council Leader Alan Melton and Euro MEP Richard Howitt clashed recently over a BBC programme which looked at the viability and future of Wisbech.

Cllr Melton believes the town has a massive future but questions whether every part of the current shopping area should be sacrosanct: Mr Howitt believes the council should “not accept as inevitable that shops may close.”

Could this small terrace shop at 6 Hill Street be the test case for introducing a new policy?

Its owner wants to permission to convert it to terraced housing claiming it has no viable future as a shop. He’s told Fenland planners that with minor partitioning and installing fittings it could easily become a house not a shop.

He says it has not attracted any interest to re-let as a shop and although the tenant gave notice to quit two years ago as owner he has not insisted it be vacated but has been actively marketing it “but with no meaningful interest forthcoming.”

Agents Knight and Associates says the owner want to allow “for occupancy flexibility to keep the property in an occupied use.”

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The application is due shortly for determination by Fenland Council.

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