Ely Market Place has no legal owner, East Cambs Council reveals as it launches bid for ‘possession’

17:25 20 February 2014

Ely

Ely's Market Place

Archant

It is one of Ely’s most iconic and important public spaces – but nobody knows who owns it.

The Market Place is the central hub of the city and plays host to dozens of Ely’s most important events of the year – including the Christmas lights switch-on, Remembrance service and dozens of markets.

Despite being used by tens of thousands of people every year, the ownership of the space is apparently unknown – with East Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and the Church Commissioners unable to shed any light.

Now, in a bid to settle its fate once and for all, the district council is to pursue ‘adverse possession’ of the Market Place – whereby it will attempt to prove that it should be the rightful owner.

The issue was brought to light in January, at a meeting of the district council’s development and transport committee.

Sally Bonnet, the district council’s infrastructure and projects officer, told councillors: “The land known as Market Place is currently unregistered and therefore no legal owner is registered at Land Registry.

“As the county council maintains the highway, it was contacted to establish whether it owned the Market Place. It has confirmed that it does not.

“There was some documentary evidence to suggest that the district council may have been transferred ownership of the Market Place when the rights to the markets were purchased from the Church Commissioners in the 1950s, however there is no surviving evidence to show this conclusively.”

In response to advice from the district council’s legal advisors, councillors voted to pursue adverse possession of the space. But Ms Bonnett warned them that the process was “not straightforward” and was not guaranteed to be successful.

As part of the process, the district council will have to prove to the Land Registry that it has been undertaking works on the square for at least the last 12 years.

A decision is expected later this year.

1 comment

  • If no one owns the Market Place, in Ely. Where does any money paid for space on the market days of, Thursday and Friday? And, who gave permission to pull down the Corn Exchange and all the other old buildings around the square? Sylvia Bell. Brisbane, Australia.

    Report this comment

    Sylvia

    Friday, February 21, 2014

Disgraced cleric, the Rev Stephen Talbot

A former police chaplain who downloaded indecent images of children smashed his computer’s hard drive and dropped parts in bins in Soham and Ely on the night before police arrived to arrest him.

The Rannerlow-owned building which overlooks Ely's market square.

Developers have promised to transform an eyesore building which overlooks Ely’s historic market square into an area residents “can be proud of” as part of a sweeping redevelopment.

08:37

A 19-year-old man is to be sentenced after stealing four pairs of ladies underwear from a house in Soham.

Cast of Oliver at Soham (Viva production)

Review of Viva Youth Theatre’s production of ‘Oliver’ at The Brook, Soham on Wednesday March 4.

Most read stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ely Standard e-edition today E-edition