Historic Maltings To Close For Refurbishment But Future Looks Secure

PUBLISHED: 10:17 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:23 04 May 2010

ELY S historic exhibition, conference and performance centre has now closed. The Maltings is shutting its doors while essential repairs are carried out on the roof, but it is still not known what the precise arrangements will be when the venue re-opens be

ELY'S historic exhibition, conference and performance centre has now closed.

The Maltings is shutting its doors while essential repairs are carried out on the roof, but it is still not known what the precise arrangements will be when the venue re-opens because the district council is holding out for the right bidder.

"We have to find someone who will support community activities, not just open a pizza parlour," said Cllr John Humphries. Cllr Humphries chairs the district council's asset management sub-committee, in whose hands the future of The Maltings lies.

"We've gone out to try and get some more tenders, and are waiting to get some more in. We had quite a lot of interest initially and then in dropped off a bit, which may be due to the current economic situation facing the country."

Among those who put in an early bid to run The Maltings is Ely's arts development agency ADeC. Councillors have promised that the building, on Ship Lane, adjoining Ely's riverside, will be available for community use and that Ely Cinema will re-open after building work.

Cllr Humphries added: "We have tried to give people as long a warning as possible about the closure as there are so many events which take place at the building.

"We hope to re-open in six months but obviously this will depend a lot on what the contractors find and the weather. We have made the promise though that when the building re-opens it will still have a cinema and will be available for community use. I would like to stress that the building as it stands is perfectly safe and any work will be in keeping with the historic character of the building."

Work will start on the Grade II listed building next week, and is expected to take approximately six months.

Tenders will continue to be discussed in private at the meeting of the Asset Management sub-committee next Tuesday.

"The original plan was to try and get something before the six months started, but we are still very hopeful that the contract will be signed before the work is finished," Cllr Humphries added.

Annabel Reddick who runs Burrows bookshop in Ely, said visitors to her shop and box office had constantly asked what was going to happen. "We all knew The Maltings was closing, but the frustration with the general public is that they don't know what it will be, she added, and they don't know exactly how long it will take. That's the feedback we've been getting here.

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