Wisbech is poised for an historic High Street transformation after revised plans for a new shop and flats at ‘The Gap’ were given the go-ahead.
Fenland District Council’s planning committee yesterday unanimously approved plans for a ground floor retail unit and seven flats at 24 High Street.
The former Cook’s butchers site, which has been an eyesore on the High Street for the past three decades, is being redeveloped as part of the Council’s National Lottery Heritage Fund-supported Wisbech High Street Project.
Now the Council is seeking a development partner to transform the site. A tender process has been launched and the Council is seeking expressions of interest.
‘The Gap’ was previously earmarked for a temporary community building, but the original 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 skeptical of whether it would fit in the historic market town and local conservation area.
Pick Everard was appointed to project manage the new redevelopment last summer and has worked with architects to put forward the revised scheme.
Cllr Chris Seaton, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Social Mobility and Heritage, said: “I’m delighted the revised plans have been approved by planning committee. The scheme offers the best solution for this long-term derelict site; it is more economically viable and is much more in keeping with the area’s character and heritage.
“It is also a huge milestone in the Wisbech High Street Project and will contribute greatly to the High Street’s regeneration. I am really looking forward to seeing it start to take shape.”
The plans were approved subject to planning conditions, including the completion of archaeological works prior to building work commencing.
For more information on the redevelopment tender, visit the governments contracts finder website: www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk and search for “Wisbech”
The Wisbech High Street Project, which was set up by the Council in 2017, is funded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Townscape Heritage scheme.
Its aim is to regenerate the High Street’s derelict sites and bring empty properties back into use, as well as restore other historic High Street buildings. The project also hosts a number of heritage-related, community learning activities, some of which moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic.