Hope for High Street as shops and flats come back to life

Part of High Street Wisbech coming back to life

Part of High Street Wisbech coming back to life - Credit: FDC

The result of a £500,000 grant towards a renovation project in High Street, Wisbech, is about to be unveiled.  

Significant internal and external repairs have been carried out at 13-17 High Street. 

And the derelict first floors have been brought back into use for the first time in 30 years. 

Historic architectural features have been reinstated and new traditional shopfronts added. 

The improvement grant is part of a £1.9m lottery funded long term improvement package of High Street.  

Fenland Council officers worked with the owner of 13-17 High Street over five years to develop an improvement scheme and secure a grant. 

This entire upper floor used to house the Boro’ Restaurant/Cafe and then a snooker hall in the late 1970s/early 80s. 

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The High Street project team says that despite having been vacant for many years “we were surprised to see a number of fixtures and fittings at first floor level surviving”. 

These relate mainly to the snooker/pool uses and including snooker score counters on the walls and the bar area. 

Cllr Chris Seaton, Fenland Council’s portfolio holder for heritage, said: “Not only have the previously dilapidated buildings at 13-17 High Street been restored to their former glory, but it has made a huge difference to the whole area.” 

Improvements are due to get underway shortly at 19 High Street to complement those already being completed next door at No.18. 

A council spokesperson said: “A final call for property owners to take advantage of grant funding available through the project in November has also resulted in more owners putting forward proposals to renovate their properties.” 

Part of High Street Wisbech before works started

Part of High Street Wisbech before works started - Credit: FDC

However the council says rising inflation and ongoing supply issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic have delayed the works at 11-12 High Street. 

“The costs to regenerate these two properties are now significantly higher than projected to make the scheme viable,” said the spokesperson. 

Life returning to this High Street Wisbech property

Life returning to this High Street Wisbech property - Credit: FDC

Prior to works beginning on this High Street, Wisbech, property

Prior to works beginning on this High Street, Wisbech, property - Credit: FDC

Cllr Seaton added: “It is incredibly disappointing for both the council and our partners that we’re not able to progress the scheme at 11-12 High Street as we’d envisaged.  

“The impact of the pandemic, materials shortages and cost hikes has meant that we’ve had to delay this project, but we will continue to look for a viable way to bring it forward.”