Fresh bid to rebuild landmark

PUBLISHED: 16:34 14 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:45 01 June 2010

A CALL has gone out for Wisbech s famous Octagon Church to be rebuilt on its original Old Market site. It follows a decision by Lloyds TSB to close its Old Market branch and put the important site up for sale. Local historian Andrew Ingram says the town n

A CALL has gone out for Wisbech's famous Octagon Church to be rebuilt on its original Old Market site.

It follows a decision by Lloyds TSB to close its Old Market branch and put the important site up for sale.

Local historian Andrew Ingram says the town now has a great opportunity to put the landmark back. Its demolition in the 1950s caused a storm of controversy. Even the intervention of Queen Mary failed to save it.

Mr Ingram believes an Octagon building could be used as new library. He said: "The outer shell would be an Octagon, it is no use building it as a church because we have enough empty churches as it is."

The bank will close in September and business transferred to the newly refurbished North Brink branch. A Lloyds TSB spokesman confirmed the site will soon be coming up for sale.

Previous campaigns to rebuild the Octagon on its original site have always been thwarted because the bank was still trading. Mr Ingram proposed building it elsewhere in 1995 for the town's Millennium Project and again in 1996. It was short-listed on both occasions.

The millennium proposal was to rebuild the Octagon as a heritage centre. "With the present library in Ely Place encountering problems with access, a rebuilt Octagon would give the town both a restored landmark and a stunning library building," said Mr Ingram.

"People should be alerted to the fact that this important site is being sold and the opportunity could be missed. Just think of the impact rebuilding the Octagon could have on Wisbech. It could put the pride back into the town and restore its architectural heritage."

- Mr Ingram would like to hear from individuals or organisations interested in seeing the Octagon rebuilt. Write to him c/o 2-3 Bridge Street, Wisbech, PE13 1AF.

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