Wisbech High Street ‘Gap’ to be transformed


Wisbech High Street ‘Gap’ to be transformed

Work to bring back into productive use a derelict space that has been a blot on Wisbech High Street for almost 40 years is at last under way, with contractors on site to revive the market town’s notorious Gap.

Fenland District Council has secured funding to restore 24 High Street into an asset for Wisbech. What is now dead space was the site of a four-storey 18th century building and one-time warehouse and butcher’s shop prior to its collapse approximately 30 years ago. Known locally as Cooks Butchers, or simply as ‘The Gap’, there has been no building or frontage on the High Street since that time.

The redevelopment is part of the Council’s Wisbech High Street Project, launched in 2017 with £1.9 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Overall redevelopment in Wisbech centre is supported with a grant from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s Market Towns Programme to help improve business premises on the High Street.

Cllr Chris Seaton, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Heritage:

“Getting action on this site has been a long and complex project involving a lot of effort and determination from our members, officers, and partners over several years.

“It represents another major step in our long-running project to give a much needed uplift to the historic high street.

“It’ll be of huge significance to the town to see this long-standing derelict site transformed into something that adds to the street scene and engenders further pride in the area.”

Cllr Seaton told fellow Fenland councillors that,  thanks to the Heritage Lottery Funded Wisbech High Street Project, together with funding from the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority and money from the district council itself, work on transforming the Gap is now all set.

The scheme, managed by consultants Pick Everard, will see the infamous Gap transformed into a residential development with the planned structure in keeping with the area’s character and heritage.

Significant repairs to other High Street buildings have included at 13-17, where derelict first floors were brought back into use.

A plan is being worked on for the derelict 11-12 High Street with an options report due to go before Fenland’s Cabinet later this year.