Corn Exchange plan approved

A BUSINESSMAN S plan to save the St Ives Corn Exchange has been approved by the town council. Last night (Wednesday), councillors voted by a majority of 14 to one to press forward with a proposal from Mike Purchas, owner of the town s Golden Lion pub. Mr

A BUSINESSMAN'S plan to save the St Ives Corn Exchange has been approved by the town council.

Last night (Wednesday), councillors voted by a majority of 14 to one to press forward with a proposal from Mike Purchas, owner of the town's Golden Lion pub.

Mr Purchas will now be given until January next year to prepare detailed drawings for the building and come back to the town council.

The building will be taken off the market, though some land at the rear of the building will be marketed to help raise funds for Mr Purchas's project.

Mr Purchas believes the Corn Exchange can be returned to a usable state for around £850,000. The money would be provided by the council for Mr Purchas to act as project manager.

It is still possible that the council could opt to sell the building if it does not believe a restored Corn Exchange would be viable - this will be examined in the run-up to the January meeting.

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Cllr John Vickery told the meeting: "This is the final chance - if it doesn't work, the building will have to be sold."

Cllr Jason Ablewhite, who has been liaising with Mr Purchas, said at the meeting that the Corn Exchange was "the most difficult issue the town council has ever faced".

The only vote against the proposal was from Cllr Kevin Reynolds, who expressed concern that the council was not treating Mr Purchas's proposal with the same rigour it had previous schemes.

Speaking after the decision, Nick Dibben, from campaign group Action Corn Exchange, said he was delighted that the future of the building looked more secure.

For more information on the future of the building, see next week's Hunts Post.

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