Don’t destroy our history

IT was with the greatest dismay I heard that St Ives Town Council has voted to sell the Corn Exchange to the highest bidder with immediate effect. I really do struggle to understand the motive or logic of the 10 councillors who decided to consign our Cor

IT was with the greatest dismay I heard that St Ives Town Council has voted to sell the Corn Exchange to the highest bidder with immediate effect.

I really do struggle to understand the motive or logic of the 10 councillors who decided to consign our Corn Exchange to the dustbin. There is clearly a need for a hall in the centre of the town - not nearby, but right in the centre. Fortunately, we already have a hall of historical significance uniquely positioned at the heart of town. Unfortunately, it is in need of a bit of loving care.

With goodwill all round, the renovation of the Corn Exchange is clearly possible, both practically and financially. Even the council's own consultant, while quite properly highlighting the risks, did not advise against the plans of the Action for the Corn Exchange group.

Do we really need a 'mega chain pub' in the town centre, with the inevitable anti-social behaviour and binge drinking often associated with similar establishments, or indeed a new hall and car park built on one of the few remaining 'green field' sites near the centre of the town?


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When these town councillors were elected, did they explicitly say they intended to sell the Corn Exchange? If not, where is their mandate to take such a momentous decision? If the town council really thinks this is what the people of St Ives want, then allow us to vote on it.

Our generation of St Ivians has been fortunate to inherit such a rich historical legacy, which we (or indeed the town council) have no right to destroy or harm. Indeed, it is our responsibility to cherish and safeguard our heritage, to hold it in trust for the benefit of future generations. What is being proposed is vandalism by any other name. Once the Corn Exchange is sold there is no going back.

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In my lifetime, St Ives has lost a number of important buildings, including Cromwell's Barn and Republic Cottage - and soon we'll be able to add the Corn Exchange to the list. I have a real stake in the future of St Ives through my children and grandchildren. Please do not deny them the opportunity of seeing the Corn Exchange restored and once more at the centre of community life and activity.

TONY BURGESS, Needingworth Road, St Ives

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