Million pound tender goes out to fill The Gap

24 High Street Wisbech

24 High Street (from left) in the 1960s as Cooks, centre as it should look once work completes, and on the right - the aborted Gap plan with viewing platform. - Credit: Archant/Archives

A contract listed for tender at between £1-5million is being offered by Fenland District Council to fill a gap in Wisbech High Street. 

24 high street wisbech

24 High Street Wisbech - Credit: FDC

Closing date for tender is October 1 and the council hopes work can start in January.  

The proposal for the derelict former Cooks shop at 24 High Street is for a ground floor shop and studio flat with three further storeys of one-bed flats at two flats per floor. 

Prospective tenderers will be told the existing building dates back to the 18th century but collapsed around 30 years ago and has been vacant ever since.  

24 high street wisbech

24 High Street Wisbech - Credit: FDC

“Timber sash windows and traditional shop frontage features will enhance the existing streetscape,” says the council. 


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“There will also be a passage from the High Street to the residential units, giving occupants of the flats a choice of entrance” 

24 High Street Wisbech

24 High Street Wisbech - Credit: FDC

The council believes small one-bedroom flats “will provide the opportunity for people to live independently in a cost-effective location without the communal facilities of a house share or HMO”. 

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Cllr Chris Seaton, the council’s portfolio holder for social mobility and heritage, said: “The scheme offers the best solution for this long-term derelict site. 

The Gap at 24 High Street, Wisbech, as part of the Wisbech High Street Project.

The Gap at 24 High Street, Wisbech, as once envisaged as part of the Wisbech High Street Project. - Credit: Archant

“It is more economically viable and is much more in keeping with the area’s character and heritage”. 

The latest option, he says, is “also a huge milestone in the Wisbech High Street Project and will contribute greatly to the High Street’s regeneration”. 

24 high street wisbech

The new Gap in Wisbech High Street - Credit: FDC

The plans were approved subject to including the completion of archaeological works prior to building work commencing. 

Cllr Seaton said the former butchers' site had been an eyesore on the High Street for the past three decades. 

It was able to be redeveloped as part of the council’s National Lottery Heritage Fund supported Wisbech High Street Project.  

‘The Gap’ was previously earmarked for a temporary community building. 

Cooks in Wisbech High Street around the 1960s

Cooks in Wisbech High Street around the 1960s - Credit: Archive

Those plans were quashed after legal barriers which had prevented a permanent building from being put forward in the beginning were successfully overcome by the council.  

A temporary viewing platform in the original proposals also sparked a mixed reaction from the public with many sceptical of whether it would fit in the historic market town and local conservation area.  

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