WISBECH: Queen's Hotel replacement plan gets a mixed reaction from townsfolk
PUBLISHED: 15:41 29 January 2009 | UPDATED: 08:51 02 June 2010
THERE S been a mixed reaction to our exclusive revelation that the former Queen s Hotel, Wisbech, is to be turned into a community centre including providing rooms for the homeless. Up to 24 people will be housed at the former hotel following a £1.85 mill
THERE'S been a mixed reaction to our exclusive revelation that the former Queen's Hotel, Wisbech, is to be turned into a community centre including providing rooms for the homeless.
Up to 24 people will be housed at the former hotel following a £1.85 million renovation programme.
Fenland District Council has pledged its support- and some funding- towards the conversion of the Grade II listed building that will also include a café, a corporate events venue and possibly weddings.
Ann Carlisle a former councillor said that one of the areas that will need addressing is that the property stands directly opposite the only National Trust building in Fenland, Peckover House, on the North Brink.
"People visit from all over the country and indeed the world, so upkeep of the facade will need to be kept impeccable as visitors eyes are drawn across the River Nene when they leave," she said.
"Bearing in mind the problems that arose from when the property was a school i.e., constantly broken windows which were so unsightly not only to residents in the area but visitors too, I think all local property owners and businesses should be closely involved in any development of this building."
Mike Chapman, Fenland's markets manager, said: "It will be good to see the building brought back into use for the benefit of the community."
A spokesman for the National Trust, who own Peckover House, said: "We will have to look carefully at the proposals before making any comments regarding the use of the building".
Councillor David Oliver, Leader of the Wisbech Town Council and the member for Peckover Ward, said two housing providers, Luminus Group and the Ferry Project had been looking for premises in Wisbech and were finding it very difficult to locate a property. They are behind the Queens project.
"They didn't want anywhere too far out of town, obviously if they need somewhere for people to drop in to, then this seems ideal," he said.
"We really don't want to see a Grade 11 listed building standing empty, so if the proposed development of the former Queens Hotel is done sympathetically and within boundaries guided by English Heritage, I personally think there shouldn't be any issues with it going ahead.
"The premises have their own car park so parking shouldn't be a problem, I think it's a good use of the building."
Brian Bowser, Senior Partner at Solicitors, Bowser Ollard & Bentley, whose offices are next to the proposed development, said: ""Good Luck to Luminus and I hope that the investment is a wise one which will pay dividends to all of us who have contributed through our taxes and rates."
THE interior of the former hotel once had a wonderful fireplace carved by Marshall George Straps, a well-known Victorian Wisbech character.
Some of Marshall's work can be seen in the Wisbech & Fenland Museum in the main gallery. Walk through the entrance of the old hotel and a magnificent sweeping staircase stood before you. That was more than ten years ago.
The Queens has since been converted from a hotel to a school, the new owner carrying out an enormous amount of work during the conversion bringing it up to date with building regulations.
For a time Fenland District Council used the building and a well-known Wisbech family-The Dawbarns- once lived there.
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