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Tenants still living in hotel after flats deemed unsafe

PUBLISHED: 17:24 16 September 2019 | UPDATED: 21:18 16 September 2019

Allan McRobbie, Alex MacDonald and Heather Harvey, tenants of 9 Norwich Street, Fakenham.  Picture: MATTHEW FARMER.

Allan McRobbie, Alex MacDonald and Heather Harvey, tenants of 9 Norwich Street, Fakenham. Picture: MATTHEW FARMER.

Archant

Tenants of a dangerous building are having to live out of a hotel while repairs continue on their homes.

Work on Norwich Street, aiming to make the building safe PICTURE: Matthew FarmerWork on Norwich Street, aiming to make the building safe PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

Tenants of a dangerous building are having to live out of a hotel while repairs continue on their homes.

Residents of flats in 9 Norwich Street, Fakenham, were warned the building was unsafe after an inspection on Friday, September 6. Since then, they have stayed in a nearby hotel, costing North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) £338 per night.

On Friday, September 13, work to make the building safe began. Work has been continuing this week.

The three unsafe flats housed partners Alex MacDonald and Heather Harvey, their friend Allan McRobbie and a couple with a young daughter.

Inside Number Nine, on the corner where cracks can be seen on the exterior PICTURE: Alex MacDonaldInside Number Nine, on the corner where cracks can be seen on the exterior PICTURE: Alex MacDonald

A spokesman for NNDC said they have accepted relief duty for two of the three parties, while one has made alternative arrangements.

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Mr MacDonald, a cleaner in Fakenham, said: "We reported the damage months and months ago. We have lived there 12 years, never missed rent, never missed council tax, and this is what we get. I wasn't even allowed back to feed the cats on Thursday evening.

"The hotel staff have been amazing, held the rooms for us and been really kind. But having to eat out every night is costing us.

Cracks running through the walls of Number Nine, Norwich Street PICTURE: Alex MacDonaldCracks running through the walls of Number Nine, Norwich Street PICTURE: Alex MacDonald

"The people we have spoken to from the council have been helpful too, but not they're not always able to talk. It would just be nice to know where you are going after work."

Andrew Brown, district councillor in charge of housing and planning, leases and rents out two of the flats in a private capacity.

He said: "My tenants have an unblemished record with me since I took the lease in March 2018. The property is in a state of disrepair, but the responsibility is on a third party. There has been no property management from the freeholder, and contacting them has been difficult.

"The building will be fixed, and hopefully fast, but my primary concern is the wellbeing of my tenants.

"I have been told by our environment team the street will be closed until at least Wednesday, and the next step will be to get a permit of prohibition, to assess if temporary repairs are necessary and how full repairs should be carried out."

Over the weekend, the street reopened to pedestrians on the south side, but business in and behind number 9 are still obstructed.

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