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Legal bid fails to find owner of Briggate Mill, near North Walsham

PUBLISHED: 11:24 04 July 2012

Briggate village residents tidying Briggate Mill wasteland so it can be used by the residents. Parish Councillor Diana Howes with other villagers.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Briggate village residents tidying Briggate Mill wasteland so it can be used by the residents. Parish Councillor Diana Howes with other villagers. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2010

Work to ensure the safety of a historic mill will be carried out by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) after the failure of a legal bid to find the derelict building’s owner.

Briggate Mill, near North Walsham, was fenced off by NNDC a year ago after a structural survey revealed that it was unsafe.

In May the council applied to the courts for an order requiring the site’s owner to make the building safe, or demolish the dangerous part.

He or she was given 28 days to respond but no-one came forward. “As the order has not been complied with, the council is permitted to undertake works in default to make the structure safe,” said Mark Whitmore, NNDC environmental protection team leader.

“We are currently organising the necessary works.”

County councillor Paul Morse, who has been supporting Briggate residents’ efforts to safeguard the site for the community, said he was pressing to find out what measures would be taken, and when.

“My concern has always been that residents must be kept informed and consulted,” he said. “They want to be given access to the site again so that they can care for it and keep it tidy which will support their ownership bid.”

In October 2010 residents lost their fight to register the mill area as a village green, sparked by an alleged land-grabbing attempt in 2008.

But Mr Morse said they had been caring for the site for about three years as part of a seven-year project to try and persuade the Land Registry to approve community ownership.

Their inability to gain access for a year meant they would have to start the bid from scratch once access was restored.

“The building is part of the landscape. Briggate wouldn’t be Briggate without Briggate Mill,” Mr Morse added.

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