Rundown shops set for new lease of life

Two rundown shops in the centre of Wisbech - which have stood empty for more than a decade - are to be brought back to life.

Two rundown shops in the centre of Wisbech - which have stood empty for more than a decade - are to be brought back to life.

Planners have agreed to allow a London developer to restore both shops and to create four flats on the upper floors of 11-12 High Street.

"This is really good news for the town," said Councillor Roger Green, leader of Wisbech Town Council.

"The shops have been a complete and utter eyesore for years. It's wonderful news something is now being done about them."

The new owners say, in an assessment report to Fenland District Council, that the buildings, which used to house the Purdy's restaurant and the Foster Menswear store, have been " allowed to fall into a state of poor repair with parts collapsed and walls becoming structurally unsound".

The report adds: "The buildings are not all original with poor quality additions added to the basement and rear areas of both buildings at ground and first floor levels."

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The buildings are still separate at ground floor level, with both having retail entrances and access to basements.

"Internally both units are in very poor condition with missing ceilings, plaster, exposed structural brackets, etc.," says the report.

"There are some interesting mouldings to a few room doors and windows which are intended to be retained and replaced."

The new owners say the property is listed and of historic interest, and English Heritage has visited the site and confirmed that parts of the building are of historical merit.