Owners of Wisbech fire ravaged building issued with order to carry out £200,000 worth of repairs

Constantine House Wisbech.

Constantine House Wisbech. - Credit: Archant

The owners of a fire-ravaged eyesore in the centre of Wisbech are to be issued with a legal notice requiring them to start £200,000 of repairs by the new year.

Wisbech Town Centre...Constantine House

Wisbech Town Centre...Constantine House - Credit: Archant

Constantine House in Nene Quay - the former premises of the Belfast - was damaged by fire back in 2010, and since then Fenland District Council has been trying to get the property reinstated.

At a meeting of the council’s planning committee on Wednesday, councillors agreed to issue an order under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act that calls on owners Chrysostomos Elias Chrysostomou and Niki Elia Chrysostomou to start work by January 1.

The decision to issue the order came jut two weeks after North East Cambs MP Steve Barclay called on the authority to “toughen up and bring in the courts” as they tackled the problem of delapidated buildings in the district. He listed Constantine House, Cooks the Butchers and the Phoenix Hotel in Wisbech as some of the main culprits.

A 35-week schedule of repairs has been drawn up, including the removal of debris, the installation of flooring, brickwork repairs, the rebuilding of chimneys and replacement of the roof.

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The order is due to be served on the property owners, and three leaseholders, within days of the committee meeting. The owner is already under a High Court order that obliges him to reinstate the proprty by January 2014 or face a severe finacial penalty.

Urging councillors to issue the legal order, an officer’s report said: “The deadline for thosese works to be effected is fact approaching, with the situation continuing to deteriorate.”

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After the fire in 2010, the council spent £25,000 on making the property safe.

Just before last Christmas, the owner indicated that he planned to reinstate the property, said a report that went before the committee. Serious illness delayed that plan, but earlier this month one of the owners said work was due to start on the property on March 1 next year, and would take six months to complete.

Chief planning officer Graham Nourse told the committee: “Officers have been working with the owner to try and get the building restored, but have been unsuccessful. This is a key building in the centre of Wisbech and we want to get it restored as soon as possible.”

Councillor David Connor told the meeting: “Thsi building has been an eye sore for sometime, and officers should be congratulated for getting something one.”

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