Council says they have not been able to trace owners of historic hotel destroyed by fire

PUBLISHED: 17:31 30 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:38 02 June 2010

Boarded up Wisbech hotel: Photo by Daniel Kiff

Boarded up Wisbech hotel: Photo by Daniel Kiff

COUNCIL officials admitted today they have not been able to contact the owners of a Fenland hotel and restaurant destroyed in a blaze yesterday. Workmen are busy shoring up the Georgian building in Wisbech which has been completely gutted. Fire chiefs a

Workmen at the Phoenix today. Photo: Daniel Kiff

COUNCIL officials admitted today they have not been able to contact the owners of a Fenland hotel and restaurant destroyed in a blaze yesterday.

Workmen are busy shoring up the Georgian building in Wisbech which has been completely gutted.

Fire chiefs are probing the cause of the blaze but have yet to confirm whether it was arson.

The fire ravaged Phoenix Hotel and Restaurant - which has been closed for some months- was empty at the time although neighbouring residents at the Hare and Hounds Hotel on North Brink were forced to evacuate the building.

Workmen secure the building today. Photo: Daniel Kiff

A spokesman for Fenland District Council said today: "Following some initial demolition work and further investigations today, it is clear that the back of the building is in a worse state than first thought.

"We have instructed contractors to carry out some selective demolition to maintain the structural integrity of what remains of the building as well as the adjacent properties.

"Because the Phoenix is a historic, listed building, it has been agreed to try and retain the front wall by providing scaffolding support on the outside. This could be transferred to the inside once the building has been cleared and made safe.

"As the owner still cannot be contacted, it has also been agreed that the demolition contractor should continue with the work that has been authorised by Fenland District Council under its emergency powers.

"To ensure the safety of the public we are installing fencing to prevent any access past the front of the building on North Brink and at the back.

"It is not yet known how long the necessary work will take but it will continue at least until the end of next week.

"North Brink is already closed due to work being carried out by the Environment Agency work, so there should be no additional disruption."

Councillor David Oliver, leader of Wisbech Town Council, said the town was "devastated" and the listed building would take "a lot of work" to repair.

Cllr Oliver said he would like to see the building restored and then reoccupied.

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