Council may delay Corn Exchange sale

ST IVES Town Council is to consider putting the controversial sale of the town s historic Corn Exchange on hold for six months. The move for a six-month moratorium to enable other avenues to be explored more fully came from a meeting last week of the coun

ST IVES Town Council is to consider putting the controversial sale of the town's historic Corn Exchange on hold for six months.

The move for a six-month moratorium to enable other avenues to be explored more fully came from a meeting last week of the council's finance and policy committee. Members agreed to the request by retired head teacher Tony Burgess, a member of the pressure group Action Corn Exchange, which wants the building retained for community use.

Town clerk Alison Melnyczuk said yesterday (Tuesday): "Bearing in mind that councillors have already taken the decision to dispose of it, I can see that it will make any difference, but that's for members to decide."

Meanwhile, ACE has begun delivering questionnaires to every home in the town. Of the 140 replies received by this week more than 95 per cent supported retaining the building for the community, said the group's co-chairman Nick Dibben.


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The group hopes replies to the questionnaire will disprove the council's assertion that most people in St Ives neither want nor care about the building.

The questionnaire asks residents to say whether they would support transfer of ownership of the Corn Exchange to a charitable trust and would be willing to continue to pay the levy of around £17.50 a year in Council Tax that has been accumulating over the past five years to fund repairs.

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ACE could still ask the High Court for a judicial review of the town council's decision to reject the group's proposal, and has issued a "letter before action", the first part of the process that could end up as an expensive court case.

"Obviously, we want to avoid that if possible," Mr Dibben told The Hunts Post. "But it's not an empty threat, and it might make some councillors sit up and take notice.

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