Wisbech Castle’s C grade condition means it needs refurbishment but is basically sound says building surveyor

Wisbech Castle has had a condition survey carried out which included images of the front and back elevations, a drainpipe which has failed and allowed water to run down the building, damp in the external corner of the groundfloor study, failed masonry repairs which has caused face loss to a stone lintel and a drainpipe that is blocked causing damage to the masonry and damp.
Wisbech Castle has had a condition survey carried out which included images of the front and back elevations, a drainpipe which has failed and allowed water to run down the building, damp in the external corner of the groundfloor study, failed masonry repairs which has caused face loss to a stone lintel and a drainpipe that is blocked causing damage to the masonry and damp.

A surveyor whose firm carried out a report on the state of Wisbech Castle for Cambridgeshire County Council last year says the building is basically sound.

The Fenland Citizen has been given a copy of the survey carried out by QPM Consultancy, which is now part of the BWB Group, last January.

The report, obtained by a concerned Wisbech resident through a Freedom of Information request, includes images of the building both inside and out and gives it an overall condition rating of C.

There has been concern Wisbech Town Council, which has recently taken over the Castle with plans to bring it back into use as a major community asset, has taken on more than they bargained for.

However, town clerk Terry Jordan said councillors were fully aware of the building survey, which gives an extensive breakdown of each room in the Castle, and what needs to be done to make it useable, before taking on the 30-year-lease and a £150,000 loan from the county council to refurbish and repair it.

The council has also controversially increased its share of the Council Tax bill for Wisbech residents by 34 per cent - around £1 a week for Band D property owners - to help cover the annual running costs of the building.

Philip Ellis, a building surveyor with BWB based in Cambridge, said in an ideal world the castle should have a condition rating of B.

He said: “B is the ideal for an older building that has been properly maintained and looked after. An A rating is only given to buildings less than two years old - you would not expect an older building to ever have that rating.

“C means the building is operational but needs refurbishment works, which is what the report says the Castle needs. Yes there are images showing cracks and damp, but you would expect an older building to have cracks, but these are not structural. They may require replastering but they are not so serious.

“There is damp in the building and there is one wall where you can see water running down it. The first thing that needs to be done is to make the building water tight. That will involve clearing and repairing the guttering.

“It maybe that wall will need a few bricks replacing once it has been able to dry out. Obviously if the water is allowed to continue to get into the building then it will deteriorate and the problem will become more serious. But on the whole the building just needs extensive refurbishment, new paint and repointing.”

Mr Jordan said Cambridgeshire County Council has agreed to do the work on the guttering. “It is what they should have done before the building was handed over,” said Mr Jordan.