Derelict buildings have ‘disproportionate impact’ on Wisbech’s reputation, says county council chief

Mark Lloyd.

Mark Lloyd. - Credit: Archant

DERELICT buildings have a “disproportionate impact” on Wisbech’s damaged reputation, according to the chief executive of Cambridgeshire County Council.

Mark Lloyd at the launch of Wisbech 2020 Vision.

Mark Lloyd at the launch of Wisbech 2020 Vision. - Credit: Archant

In an article written for The Guardian on the regeneration of rural towns, Mark Lloyd admitted that “a small number of derelict buildings” were having “wider social and psychological impacts” on the town.

Constantine House Wisbech.

Constantine House Wisbech. - Credit: Archant

He said: “What has been clear from speaking to communities across Wisbech is the disproportionate impact that a small number of derelict buildings in prime locations has on damaging perceptions of Wisbech.

“It is clear that local authorities need to work quickly to address this issue, which is on the face of it a physical and aesthetic one, but is proving to have wider social and psychological impacts.”

The Wisbech 2020 Vision, an ambitious plan to regenerate the town’s transport, economy, tourism and reputation, was launched last week.

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The project included holding public consultation sessions in Wisbech and derelict buildings were a common cause for complaint.

Highest on the list of targets is Constantine House, in Nene Quay, which has sat empty and decaying for more than two years. Frustrated residents launched a campaign calling for Fenland District Council to take action over the “bombsite” in October.

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Residents also say The Phoenix Hotel, which was devastated by fire in 2010, has sat derelict for too long.

In the Guardian article, Mr Lloyd said that “unifying public, voluntary and private efforts would be critical in unlocking future success for the town”.

He said: “Wisbech is a unique rural town, which is now developing a clear idea of where it wants to be in the future, and how it needs to get there.

“Perhaps most important to achieving this aim, and the biggest legacy of the 2020 Vision, will be how successfully all those in the wider Wisbech community can work together to focus effort, energy and passion behind a shared set of objectives.”

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