He may be out of favour at the top but Wisbech councillor wins praise for his campaign to restore derelict buildings
HE’S been unceremoniously removed from committees but Fenland councillor Simon King won encouragement from unexpected quarters when deputy council leader Chris Seaton praised his campaign to restore derelict buildings.
Cllr Seaton told the Wisbech councillor that “I applaud your tenacity” after Cllr King had again delivered a series of questions on derelict buildings in the town.
Council chairman Michael Humphrey also intervened to praise Cllr King pointing out that his efforts had kept the issue to the fore of councillors’ thinking.
On 24 High Street Cllr King was told officers were now looking at options to “bring this prominent site back into use”.
Of 11/12 High Street and the site of the Phoenix he was told a detailed brief had been together and was now with “expert commercial redevelopment/valuation experts for consideration”.
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On 1 Nene Quay – the former Belfast site- he was told talks with the owner continued and assistance was being provided in respect of looking at grants and getting development advice.
Cllr King was told the council hoped this would enable “remedial and construction works to be commissioned as soon as possible.”
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Cllr Seaton told a full council meeting at Fenland Hall, March, that derelict buildings could in the main only be improved by their owners- the council’s obligation was to ensure that did not in the meantime create a physical danger.
He said compulsory purchase orders could only be used if the “funding, developer and the end use are in place” and in the current economic climate that hasn’t happened.
Fenland Council and its taxpayers “could not be expected to incur what would be significant costs without the guarantee of reimbursement via a viable business case”.
Cllr Melton promised to look into Cllr King’s observation that Kings Lynn had won a lottery grant to improve derelict buildings.