December 7 2013 Latest news:
Monday, October 7, 2013
Calls have been made for council bosses to take action over one of their own former offices, which residents claim has become an eyesore.
The neighbourhood office at Mile Cross, where people used to be able to head to sort out housing issues and benefits, closed in May as part of a Norwich City Council shake-up, with the staff switched to City Hall.
And, with the windows boarded up and a fence around the Hansard close office, a former Green county councillor has said the council has created an eyesore.
Richard Edwards, who lost his Mile Cross seat in May, has called for the council to take action at the site - and wants to see council homes built there.
He said: “Other councillors complain about the old Kings Arms pub up the road being an eyesore, which they can’t do much about, but as the council owns this property they could pull it down and rebuild council houses there.”
Bert Bremner, cabinet member for housing at the Labour-controlled council, said the authority was looking to get the site reused for housing.
He said: “I am pleased to confirm that we have been considering options to bring forward housing on the site, in discussion with local members.
“In the autumn, we plan to consult the local community on such possible options, to enable the council to be in a position to take forward an agreed scheme to planning in the new year.”
Mr Bremner said, although the council has been embarking on the building of its first council homes in two decades, the homes at the Mile Cross site might be provided by a housing association.
He said: “I know many people in Norwich are very happy with their housing association properties let at social rents which are far lower than those in the private sector.”
And Mr Bremner said there had been significant investment in Mile Cross, with new homes and new windows.
He said cladding which has been added to a number of the council homes on the estate has made them more energy efficient and cut fuel bills by more than half.