Wisbech town centre development may be converted into flats

A planning application has been submitted to convert units in Church Mews, Wisbech, into flats

A planning application has been submitted to convert units in Church Mews, Wisbech, into flats - Credit: PrimeLocation

Antisocial behaviour and empty units prompted developers to rethink the future of Church Mews.

Church Mews, which was described as “a shop window in Wisbech” before it was built over 40 years ago, may be converted into flats.

The development, between Little Church Street and Falcon Road, intended to be an intimate but lively area with eateries, shops and offices when it was built in the late 1980s.

At the time, the £1.2 million investment involved purchasing the JS Holmes Ltd car showroom and other neighbouring properties to make way for the project.

But with vacant units, and those occupied coming towards the end of their leases, a planning application has been submitted to Fenland District Council to convert the entire development into accommodation.

Change of use proposals outline plans to convert the existing 14 ground floor units into a private gated area with 15 ground floor flats. Accommodation already exists on the first and second floors.

The design and access statement written by the applicant’s agent Anglia Building Consultant explains the occupied units are either offices or financial and professional services.

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But antisocial behaviour “with groups congregating and drinks during the day” in the area has meant “the footfall through the development is therefore low when compared to the rest of the town centre”.

The design and access statement goes on to explain this has made it difficult to find tenants for the vacant units in Church Mews. It outlines one particular opportunity has had 14 viewings since it became available in May 2018, with nobody interested in taking on the lease.

Church Mews is currently occupied with three businesses and organisations: Mortgage Ability, a financial and professional services provider; Seetech, which delivers IT training to the unemployed; and Richmond Fellowship, a mental health charity.

It was previously home to a variety of businesses including a wine bar, an estate agent, a hair and beauty salon, financial service providers and a dentist. The Citizens Advice Bureau and The Red Cross also had bases there.

While the development is close to Grade II Listed buildings in Little Church Street and the Wisbech Conversation Area, the applicant does not envision minor alterations to the units affecting the character of neighbouring properties.