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Fears for town's historic house

The owners of one of a town’s oldest houses could soon face legal action to bring the building back up to scratch.

General view of Ely House in Wisbech. (12135694)
General view of Ely House in Wisbech. (12135694)

A local councillor has raised concerns for the future of Ely House in Lynn Road, Wisbech, claiming the building, reputed to be the oldest house in the town, is being seriously compromised by squatters and possible illegal activity.

Newly-elected independent Dave Patrick fears the Grade II listed building will fall into serious disrepair unless urgent action is taken to stem its decline.

Coun Patrick, who represents the Walsoken Ward on Fenland Council, said: “I’m sure there will be comments about me doing this for publicity, but the truth is I’m genuinely concerned about this house.

“It is supposed to be the oldest house in Wisbech and it is in a terrible state. I have been told the council has been looking at issuing a legal notice and it is just waiting to be signed off, but it needs to be done as a matter of urgency.

“The building was boarded up but they have been breached and there are squatters back in there and there is apparently all sorts of illegal activity such as drug taking going on.

“My real concern is that something will happen to the building if action is not taken. It would be a real loss to the town if it is allowed to get so bad that it can’t be repaired.”

The house was reportedly built in the early 17th century and was believed to have been owned by the diocese of Ely.

In 2017 it was put up for sale and hundreds of people turned out for an open day when it was opened to the public. Since then it has been left and has fallen into serious disrepair.

However, a spokesman for Fenland District Council said: “We haven’t served a Section 215 Notice on the property previously but it is being considered as part of ongoing assessments.

“We have already taken action to make the property secure but are aware that there has been re-entry. We are now assessing what further steps we can take regarding this property.”

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