Fears for the oldest house in town

Ely House, in Wisbech Picture: Chris Bishop

Ely House, in Wisbech Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

There are fears that one of a town's oldest houses could be lost.

Squatters have broken into Ely House, on the Lynn Road in Wisbech.

The former farmhouse, built in the early 1700s, has stood empty for some years and a potential sale has stalled.

Dave Patrick, Fenland councillor for the Kirkgate ward, wants the council to step in to secure the building.

"I don't think they're acting fast enough to protect that property," he said. "That property is compromised, there are squatters in there. We really should be doing more to secure it, it's the oldest property in Wisbech." Mr Patrick fears the two-storey property's interior has been damaged and drug taking has been going on in the house. He added: "If we don't act very soon we will lose it."

Hundreds attended an open day when the Grade II listed building was put up for sale in 2017. The EDP understands the offer of a sale at the end of last year has not yet completed.

Fenland could serve a so-called Section 215 notice on the owner of Ely House if it believes the property's condition is having a harmful effect on the area.

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It could specify steps to be taken to retify matters and if not carried out, the council could step in and do the work and charge the owner.

A council spokesman said: "A Section 215 Notice has not been served on the property previously but it is being considered as part of ongoing assessments.

"We have already taken action to make the property secure but are aware that there has been re-entry. We are now assessing what further steps we can take regarding this property."

Historic England's listing states: "Early C18 farmhouse. Local brown brick, pantiled roof with high tumbled parapet gables, end stacks. Two storeys with attics, symmetrical facade of five bays. Three flat roofed casement dormer windows. Five original cross-framed casement windows at first floor and four, similar, ground floor windows in segmental arches. Late C18 doorcase with attached wooden columns and enriched broken pediment, plain round headed fanlight and six-panelled door. Interior has complete panelled room to right hand, with good late C18 chimney piece. Sealed kitchen hearth in rear wing. C19 staircase and service wing with dairy to east. Original kitchen door with iron hinges.

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