Five ‘property guardians’ could soon move into Wisbech Castle to secure the empty building in return for a cut-price rent.
Social enterprise company Dot Dot Dot has been instructed by Castle owners Cambridgeshire County Council to find tenants willing to move in and protect the vacant property on a temporary basis.
The move will not effect the authority’s sale of the building, nor Wisbech Town Council’s ongoing bid to acquire it for the community.
Dot Dot Dot revealed on Twitter that it would offering five property guardian spaces in the former offices of the Castle from the end of January.
The company said the places are for “people who are committed to voluntary work” and would be ideal for “artists, creatives or people looking to live in a unique space”.
They will take care of the building, move out at short notice when required and receive cheaper housing in return – around £200-250 per month including bills but not council tax.
Dot Dot Dot’s website says: “By reducing guardians’ living costs – and providing support for their volunteering – we enable them to give more time and to have a greater impact in the areas and cities where they live.”
Wisbech Town Council said the guardianship will not affect its plans to try and acquire the Castle from the county council, which put it on the market in August last year.
Wisbech town, district and county councillor Sam Hoy said the town council is continuing to build its business case and liaise with possible partners to find a way forward.
It had asked for an appropriate period of time to develop its case, and Miss Hoy said that next month they may have to ask for a bit more time.
She told the Citizen yesterday: “The property guardians won’t affect any kind of progress, they just watch over the Castle while it’s empty.
“We are continuing with our business plan. There are lots of options to look at and that takes time to get right.”