'Crunch' talks set to take place over future of riverside cottage

Maltings Cottage on Ely riverside

Talks between parish and district councillors will take place to discuss the future of the Maltings Cottage on Ely riverside. - Credit: British Listed Buildings

Plans on how to revive a derelict riverside cottage will once again be tabled at a meeting which has been described as “crunch time”. 

Both parish and district councillors are due to meet to decide the future of the Maltings Cottage on Ely riverside. 

Talks on reviving the cottage resurfaced with the help of Ely resident Ted Coney, who wanted City of Ely Council (CoE) to revisit the plans following a meeting last November. 

“I know they’ve tried various commercial things, like an ice cream parlour and none of these things have worked out,” he said. 

“I asked them to look at the idea again.  

“When I went to the February meeting, the parish council said they can’t discuss it anymore as it needs permission from the district council.” 

The cottage, which was taken over by CoE from East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC), had been earmarked for holiday lets to rent. 

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CoE had wanted to turn the building into council offices, before buying Sessions House where they are currently based. 

Mr Coney, who would like the cottage to boast a mix of art studios and residential flats, said he heard rumours of councillors wanting to rent the entire building. 

“The issue has been going on since CoE took on the building, so they can use it in a more public way,” he said. 

“I think artist studios makes more sense with the idea of accessibility. 

“In the first year, Babylon Gallery can help with the choosing of the artists.” 

Mr Coney also believes art studios will help provide “more for tourists” who live and visit Ely. 

He has got the support of Cllr Michael Rouse, who hopes a compromise between both councils can be reached. 

“I think it will be a hard conversation to have, but I think there is room for compromise,” he said. 

“Crunch time will be April and after that, we should have a clear idea to say ‘these are our wishes to ECDC’.” 

Cllr Rouse is hoping to attend the meeting alongside Cllr Richard Morgan of CoE’s assets committee next month. 

A joint statement from both councils outlined that the meeting will include “discussions on use and cost of renovation”.