Sale of building dropped

THE original plan to sell the St Ives Corn Exchange will be officially dropped at a special town council meeting tonight (Wednesday). Last year, the council decided to sell the 18th Century grade-II listed building as it was thought it would cost too much

THE original plan to sell the St Ives Corn Exchange will be officially dropped at a special town council meeting tonight (Wednesday).

Last year, the council decided to sell the 18th Century grade-II listed building as it was thought it would cost too much to redevelop. The building has been closed since 2001 because of structural concerns.

However, last month, businessman Michael Purchas impressed the council with a presentation where he put forward a proposal to redevelop the building for just £600,000 - money which the council already has in reserve.

After the council officially drops the sale plan, it will put the redevelopment work out to tender - inviting bids from any firms or individuals interested in carrying out the work. Mr Purchas is likely to be favourite to be awarded the contract.

Town clerk Alison Melnyczuk said: "Dropping the plan to sell is a matter of tidying up the books, while going out to tender is the process of appointing a project manager and an architect.

"Once that technical team has been appointed it will work with the town council to decide how the redevelopment work is carried out."

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The tendering process is expected to take four to six weeks. The council is hopeful that the building will be open by the start of 2009.

Meanwhile, a public consultation on what to do with the first floor of the building has received a good response. The first floor of the building will either be developed into an office space or a second bar area and the public are being asked their opinion on which design they prefer.

Displays of the proposals are available to view at the town hall, Free Church and St Ives library. Responses must reach St Ives Town Council by noon on March 3.

INFORMATION: Watch a video walk-through of how the redeveloped Corn Exchange might look by visiting www.huntspost24.co.uk and clicking on the link on the left hand side.

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