The ACE is on for hall rescuers

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to stop St Ives Corn Exchange being sold have been given four months to come up with a rescue package. St Ives Town Council last Wednesday agreed to dispose of the building and draw up a planning brief for its use. However, councill

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to stop St Ives Corn Exchange being sold have been given four months to come up with a rescue package.

St Ives Town Council last Wednesday agreed to "dispose" of the building and draw up a planning brief for its use.

However, councillors also agreed that the Action Corn Exchange (ACE) group would be given the chance to present a package to save the building.

The Corn Exchange closed five years ago because of structural concerns. The council estimates it will cost about £1.5million to bring the hall back into use and has raised £500,000 towards this figure, but says it cannot meet the costs of running the hall alone.

Mayor Councillor Douglas Dew told the packed meeting in the Free Church: "Having looked at the finances, the idea of going it alone is dead in the water and we must now look at forming a trust."

Nick Dibben, of the ACE group, said: "Four months isn't a huge amount of time to prepare a proposal but the will is there and it will be done."

Most Read

A local businessman told the meeting he would not allow the Corn Exchange to be sold for commercial use. Michael Purchase, owner of the town centre's Golden Lion pub, said: "I drove here from Nottingham this evening because I believed the Corn Exchange was about to be sold off.

"I am pleased to see that this does not seem to be the case but, if all else fails, I will try to help the Corn Exchange."

Mr Purchase received the loudest applause of the night when he added: "I say to the town council - do not lose this building for the community. Once you sell it, it is gone.