Corn Exchange crunch meeting tonight

A GROUP campaigning to stop the St Ives Corn Exchange being sold off has said it is in a bullish mood ahead of a crunch meeting tonight (Wednesday). The Action Corn Exchange (ACE) group will deliver its presentation to the town council at 7.30pm, hoping t

A GROUP campaigning to stop the St Ives Corn Exchange being sold off has said it is in a bullish mood ahead of a crunch meeting tonight (Wednesday).

The Action Corn Exchange (ACE) group will deliver its presentation to the town council at 7.30pm, hoping to persuade councillors that it is possible to retain the building for community use without it costing taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds a year.

The council will use the data to decide whether to offer Corn Exchange for sale - or go with ACE's plan to retain and restore it.

Nick Dibben, ACE co-chairman, said: "We have been working hard to prepare a presentation which we hope will persuade the town council to go with our plans.

"We have community groups, including the St Ivo School, lining up to use the facility and we hope that the town council will take this into account. There is a great deal of support in the town for this building."

The estimated cost of renovating the building has increased to £1.265million from £1.1m.

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Mr Dibben said: "The slight rise in costing has come about because of the need to factor in inflation for the work. This is something that neither we nor the town council has previously included."

If the town council opts against the proposals, it is likely attention will turn to providing a community facility at a different location. This would involve using £500,000 of Council Tax cash set aside by the town council for work on the Corn Exchange.

Should the council give ACE its backing, it is expected that further reports, detailed breakdowns of costs and potential council subsidies, would be requested by the council.

The Corn Exchange closed in 2001 due to structural concerns. The town council has been wrangling over its future ever since and decided in October to 'dispose' of the building.

INFORMATION: The meeting is in St Ives Free Church.

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