Action promised on Fakenham eyesores
09:42 07 February 2014
Eyesores which have blighted the streets of Fakenham and nearby villages for years are set for
imminent improvements, a council has vowed.
Several properties in and around the town have been targeted in a crackdown on derelict buildings across north Norfolk.
Since establishing its enforcement board just over a year ago, North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) says it has achieved success in 45 out of 86 cases it has considered, resulting in long-term empty properties being brought back to use.
Now the board, which sees different departments, including legal and environmental health staff working together to tackle hard-to-crack cases, is focusing on several properties in the Fakenham area.
NNDC is expecting to bring about improvements in coming days and months to:
* 57 Oak Street – a former flower shop and paint store which has been derelict for more than 20 years.
* 400-year-old structurally-unsound outbuildings at nearby Star Yard.
* A derelict building at 33 Oak Street.
* Tattersett cottages – Grade II listed buildings at Tattersett.
* Coach House, Melton Hall – a listed building.
NNDC leader Tom FitzPatrick said: “When we took over the running of the council we were quite shocked to find that there are about 1,400 empty homes in the district.
“This is not acceptable when we face such a need for housing, especially when many of those houses, along with a number of commercial properties, have become eyesores and, in some cases, a health risk.
“Part of the reason for this is that the owners have never believed that the council would be prepared to take action like forcing necessary repairs or even the sale of the properties and so they have ignored threats.
“The owners of problem properties are now aware of the need to take action quickly, otherwise the council will continue to do whatever is necessary to resolve the problem once and for all.
“Despite the tough financial times, we are making money available to undertake necessary repairs, although we would always fully intend to recover these costs from the owner, to enforce sale, or even to buy these properties if necessary.
“We want to make it very clear to the owners of problem properties throughout the district that they must address the situation.
“Empty homes and other eyesore properties are a source of concern for many communities and I am delighted that we are showing very clearly that we have the will to support those communities.”
The enforcement board was established in December 2012 and NNDC is confident that scores more long-term empty properties will be brought back into use as it continues to flex its legal muscles against reluctant owners.
Powers used by the council have included serving notices on owners requiring them to tidy their properties.
If deadlines are not met, the council can undertake the work and then apply to sell the property to recover its costs.
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