WISBECH: SHOP OWNERS CLAIM SCAFFOLDING IS ATTRACTING EXTRA CRIME

EXCLUSIVE By LOUISE HUGHES SHOP owners have blamed open scaffolding around two derelict buildings in Wisbech for attracting crime in the town centre. While Fenland councillors decide on the future of 11 and 12 High Street, businesses hope the neglected f

EXCLUSIVE

By LOUISE HUGHES

SHOP owners have blamed open scaffolding around two derelict buildings in Wisbech for attracting crime in the town centre.

While Fenland councillors decide on the future of 11 and 12 High Street, businesses hope the neglected former shops will soon be restored.

Damaged basements of four High Street premises are still being repaired after copper water pipes were stolen and completely flooded the area.

Businesses lost thousands of pounds in sales and stock when Loafers Coffee Shop, Specs 4 Less, Fancy Fayre and Loafers Sandwich Bar were submerged by mains water last month.

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"These derelict buildings have been like this for too long," said Charlie Thompson, of Loafers Coffee Shop and the sandwich bar.

"Thieves are using the open scaffolding to climb into the property and access the back of the shops.

"It's about time Fenland council does something about it and takes out a compulsory purchase order to do the renovation work themselves."

In January last year, planning permission was granted to restore the shops at 11 and 12 High Street and a repairs notice was issued by the council in November.

But 18 months later, no work has started.

Fenland's Cabinet Committee discussed the possible purchase and renovation of the neglected buildings at their last meeting.

But the item is being treated as a confidential issue and is discussed in private by councillors.

Mr Thompson said: "Thieves climb the scaffolding to get round the back and the street looks a disgrace with this eyesore. It's now beyond a joke."

Nina Lock, of Fancy Fayre, added: "I lost stock and missed out on lots of sales after the flood. Businesses along here have affected by the derelict buildings and something needs to be done about them.

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