Historic property targeted by frequent anti-social behaviour to remain closed into 2020

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An historic Wisbech property will remain shut down until the New Year after magistrates agreed to extend a closure order.

Fenland District Council has successfully applied for a three month extension to the Closure Order on Ely House in Lynn Road.

The closure order placed at Ely House. Photo: Fenland District Council

The closure order placed at Ely House. Photo: Fenland District Council

The extension will take effect from November 1, meaning the Grade II-listed property will remain closed down until the end of January.

Peterborough magistrates were satisfied that it was necessary to extend the order to prevent a recurrence of disorderly, offensive or criminal behaviour on the premises, serious nuisance to members of the public resulting from the use of the premises and disorder near the premises associated with its use.

The council secured the original closure order on August 1, making it a criminal offence for any unauthorised persons to enter the address.

It followed a series of issues at the empty, private-owned property, including anti-social behaviour at all hours, fires being set alight, fly-tipping and drug and alcohol abuse, with frequent attendance by the emergency services to deal with disorder and crime.

Cllr Susan Wallwork, Fenland District Council’s portfolio holder for communities, said the closure order has helped provide respite to nearby residents and safeguarded the property from further deterioration.

“Since the order was issued there has been a reduced demand for emergency services to attend Ely House,” she said. “Feedback from the local community has also been positive, with residents reporting that the situation has improved.”

Speaking of the extension, she added: “It’s great news for local residents and recognises our ongoing commitment to protect the community and the historic fabric of the house.

“Support and intelligence from residents and several Wisbech councillors has been vital throughout this process so I’d like to say thank you to all concerned. I’d also urge anyone with information about crime or anti-social behaviour to report it.”

Council officers are continuing to apply pressure on the property owners and take enforcement action to fully secure the site and facilitate a long-term solution.

An Urgent Works Notice served on the owners on August 21 to undertake works necessary for the preservation of the building, including clearing rubbish and fire hazards, and ensuring the building was wind and watertight, was complied with and works completed by October 9.

Temporary fencing has also been erected at the site, but council officers are aware some trespassing is still occurring. Officers have warned the owners that another Urgent Works Notice will be served imminently unless the site is made fully secure.

Anyone who witnesses unauthorised persons entering the property, breaching the Closure Order, is urged to report it to police on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.