An organisation that protects historic properties says “it has serious concerns” with the demolition proposals for the former Cashino building in Wisbech.  

The Grade II Listed building at 5, Market Place, and neighbouring businesses, have been fenced off from the public since the devastating fire in April 2022.  

Its condition is said to be having “a detrimental impact” on the town centre and was among the reasons cited for this year’s cancellation of the Rose Fair Parade.  

Steve Barclay, the MP for North East Cambridgeshire, is among those keen to see work begin and a planning application was submitted in April to partially demolish the building. 

But Historic England argues “it has not seen proper justification for the level of demolition” and historic features need to be retained wherever the building is considered structurally sound. 

Wisbech Standard: Plans have now been submitted to demolish parts of the building.Plans have now been submitted to demolish parts of the building. (Image: Newsquest)

An Historic England spokesperson said: “We are working closely with Fenland District Council regarding 5 Market Place, advising on how best to make the site safe and keep as much of its historic character as possible.  

“We welcome the proposal to reinstate the building but have not seen proper justification for the level of demolition and rebuilding being proposed.  

He added: “It is important that, where parts of the building are deemed structurally sound, the special historic features of this Grade II listed property are retained.  

“We have recommended that a Conservation Accredited Structural Engineer is appointed to assess the condition of the building and determine how much of the original fabric can be saved.”  

A press release from Fenland District Council last week explained officers have met with English Heritage representatives to discuss the issue.  

Steve Tierney, a Wisbech town and district councillor, also assured residents the council wants "this resolved as soon as possible as well”.  

He said: “We are very much aware of the detrimental impact 5 Market Place is having on the town centre.  

“The council is doing everything in its power to resolve this matter as soon as possible, however, as it is a private property the influence the council has directly is limited.    

“Unfortunately, progress has been slow due to the circumstances of the building and the site itself.  

“The building is Listed and in a conservation area and, as such, must be restored in accordance with legislation and national policy and guidance in relation to Listed Buildings which can take time.  

“It is a frustrating situation, but the council is bound by the law and cannot act outside the law.” 

He added: “Whilst the council does have powers to deal with buildings in poor condition and appearance, the council would still have to commission the exact same technical reports and evidence and go through the same process that the building owner is currently taking.” 

Wisbech Standard: Councillor Steve Tierney sits on Wisbech Town Council, Fenland District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council. Councillor Steve Tierney sits on Wisbech Town Council, Fenland District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council. (Image: Newsquest)

In February, he submitted a Motion to Full Council in relation to the building and has also commented on the planning file supporting the building’s demolition on two conditions.  

The first is that there is a “firm commitment” to replace the building with another design “in keeping” with the surrounding properties.  

Secondly, that construction of the replacement building “will happen in a timely fashion and not drag on for years”.  

He added: “I don't have any heritage concerns and am happy to support any ‘in kind’ building that does not leave an empty gaping hole in the row of shops for years to come.”