Fenland Council acts on <i>Wisbech Standard</i> tip off in quest to find Phoenix Hotel owner

Story by: JOHN ELWORTHY COUNCIL officials acted this week on a tip off from the Wisbech Standard in their hunt for the owner of the Wisbech restaurant and hotel destroyed in a suspected arson attack. The building is owned by restaurateur Nancy Won

Story by: JOHN ELWORTHY

COUNCIL officials acted this week on a tip off from the Wisbech Standard in their hunt for the owner of the Wisbech restaurant and hotel destroyed in a suspected arson attack.

The building is owned by restaurateur Nancy Wong whom Fenland District Council is desperate to contact to discuss the future of the fire ravaged building in North Brink.

"We do know who the owner is - that is a matter of public record and is registered with the Land Registry," said a council spokesman.


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"We have been trying - so far unsuccessfully - to contact her to enable us to discuss long-term plans regarding the future of the property. That's all we can usefully say at the moment".

The Wisbech Standard was able to suggest where the owner might be working after a reader spotted her serving food in a Chinese restaurant in Downham Market.

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Meanwhile, police continue to investigate the Phoenix fire and a previous blaze which destroyed Constantine House in Nene Quay, the former Belfast Line Warehouse.

A police spokesman said that so far both fires were not being linked and they had no evidence to support claims locally that migrant workers had been squatting at different times in both empty properties.

Meanwhile Fenland Council has been forced to foot the bill at the Phoenix for 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.

Councillor David Oliver, leader of Wisbech Town Council, said the town was "devastated" by the blaze 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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