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Demolition work starts on ‘eyesore’ Broads Hotel in Hoveton

PUBLISHED: 14:47 19 March 2014 | UPDATED: 14:47 19 March 2014

Demolition work starts on the derelict Broads Hotel, Station Road, Hoveton.
Photo by Simon Finlay.

Demolition work starts on the derelict Broads Hotel, Station Road, Hoveton. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Archant Norfolk.

It was once a popular haunt enjoyed by thousands of tourists visiting the holiday Broads hot spot of Hoveton each year.

Now the derelict Broads Hotel, sited on the town’s main Station Road, has been ripped down after North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) slapped an enforcement notice on it demanding action.

The street’s most prominent building, which shut in 2007, is said by many to resemble something from a war-torn city rather than a prestigious hotel from a prime Norfolk destination.

Broken glass has surrounded the half-boarded windows for years, while the fire-damaged roof and ransacked interior indicated anti-social behaviour.

Nigel Dixon, NNDC member for Hoveton, praised the actions of the district council and said the demolition, which began yesterday morning, could not have come sooner.

“This has been a long, protracted battle with the owner of the site who has been less than co-operative both with the community and North Norfolk District Council,” he said.

“The action is being taken by the district council as a direct intervention to remove the buildings which are frankly an eyesore to local communities. For Wroxham and Hoveton this has been a concern for some years.”

The site, as well as the boarded up cottage opposite, is owned by South Norfolk Council member for the Mulbarton division, Jon Herbert.

Mr Herbert took over the hotel in 2003 with his wife Valerie and planned to use its seven-room annexe as holiday accommodation.

In September 2007 plans for 17 two-bed and seven single-bedroom flats went before NNDC, ranging between two and four-storeys high and included 32 residents’ parking spaces.

Hoveton Parish Council opposed the proposal and a further 10 letters of objection were received by NNDC’s development control committee, which halted the plans.

Mr Herbert was then given an ultimatum by NNDC to resubmit a planning application by the end of February 2012 but when that did not happen the council issued an improvement notice.

And in 2012 a unanimous decision was made by NNDC councillors to knock down the building with the condition that the site was cleared within 12 months and building work was started before the end of two years.

Mr Dixon added: “Station Road is quite an important road as many arrive this way into the village.

“For many the first thing they see is the Broads Hotel and therefore some might decide not to bother to park their car or even to get back on the train to go to Sheringham, Cromer or Norwich.

“The demolition is good news for the local people and very good news for the businesses in the village.

“There is widespread satisfaction it is being dealt with and is on course to be cleared before the tourist season.”

Mr Dixon said the emphasis would now be on clearing the site as soon as possible and protecting it until further action could be taken. He added that similar action would be taken on the cottage opposite, also owned by Mr Herbert.

“The local authority will use its full range of powers to drive the site forward in a constructive way to help the community.”

Mr Herbert has always insisted that the hotel, which first opened in 1923, has now ceased to be viable. He has previously stated his refusal to spend money on the site until he gets planning permission, but was unavailable for comment when contacted yesterday.

Long negotiations with planning officers have so far failed to agree a replacement use for the Broads Hotel site.

What do you think? Email nnn.letters@archant.co.uk

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