MP to petition Parliament to speed up progress on tackling derelict buildings in Wisbech

Constantine House Wisbech.

Constantine House Wisbech. - Credit: Archant

MP STEVE Barclay is to petition Parliament to pile pressure on Fenland District Council to resolve the problem of derelict and empty buildings in Wisbech.

“By signing this petition you will signal to the Government that derelict buildings are having a negative impact on some of the most picturesque areas of Wisbech’s historic town centre,” said the MP for NE Cambs.

They also had a “knock on effect on surrounding residents and businesses”.

But his claims were rejected by Fenland Council leader Alan Melton who said a deal to resolve fire damaged Constantine House was imminent.

He said the council had worked “incredibly hard” on derelict properties but part of the problem was Government legislation.

“They could speed things up for us on such things as compulsory purchase orders,” said Cllr Melton. “It can take up to two years to get one through- we should be able to do things much quicker.”

Mr Barclay insists the council “already has powers to require the owners of derelict buildings to carry out all necessary repairs and make sure they don’t pose a risk to the local community or impact on the town’s character and development”.

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Under town and country planning regulations the council could insist owners repair such buildings or the council can do it for them and place a charge on the property.

Earlier this year English Heritage and the Wisbech Society met councillors and plans for grant funding for refurbishment and restoration was considered.

Officials from English Heritage will return to Wisbech shortly for a seminar to monitor progress.

Independent councillor Virginia Bucknor told Mr Barclay, via Twitter, that Kings Lynn council had already tackled derelict buildings successfully. She had been pressing all year for Fenland Council to work with Kings Lynn to find a solution for Wisbech.

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