Council seeks closure order to combat anti-social behaviour at Wisbech's Ely House

Ely House, in Wisbech, is now in a sorry state with boarded up windows. A closure order could be served on it. Picture: CHRIS BISHOP

Ely House, in Wisbech, is now in a sorry state with boarded up windows. A closure order could be served on it. Picture: CHRIS BISHOP

Archant

Vandal-stricken Ely House could be legally closed by council bosses to help preserve its future and protect nearby residents from persistent criminal activity.

Fenland District Council will make an application for a closure order to the Grade II-listed property in Lynn Road, Wisbech, at Cambridge Magistrates' Court on Thursday, August 1.

If successful the property will be closed for a period of up to three months.

It means no one will be allowed to enter the house except authorised persons, and anyone caught in breach will be committing a criminal offence.

The application will be made under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, following a series of incidents at the address.

The privately owned property is currently empty, but access has been gained and various criminal acts committed, resulting in serious nuisance to the local community.

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Issues have included anti-social behaviour at all hours, fires being set alight, fly-tipping, drug and alcohol abuse and vermin infestation, with frequent attendance by the emergency services to deal with disorder and crime.

Cllr Susan Wallwork, Fenland District Council's portfolio holder for communities, said: "It is the property owners' responsibility to ensure that Ely House is kept in a safe and secure condition.

"However, we will not tolerate the persistent nuisance and anti-social behaviour that neighbours have suffered from over a number of months.

"We also have an active interest in protecting this historic property, which is reputed to be one of the oldest buildings in Wisbech.

"We have received many complaints from multiple Wisbech councillors and members of the public and are responding in full to their concerns.

"We have done everything within our legal power to address the complex issues on the site, and worked hard to gather all the necessary evidence to support our application to court.

"I hope the closure order is granted to not only provide immediate respite to local residents but to help preserve the building for years to come."

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