Locals are demanding more is done to clean up a derelict building in the centre of a market town which they say is "killing” their high street.

People living in Fakenham claim that the crumbling building in Norwich Street has become overrun with rats and other vermin.

They have also accused North Norfolk District Council of “kicking the can down the road” over the issue.

Members of the public made the remarks at a full council meeting this week, calling for urgent action to deal with the site, which is being propped up with scaffolding after a large crack developed in 2019.

Susan Parry, who lives nearby, questioned whether the council was "working for Fakenham" and described the property as a "carbuncle" affecting local businesses and visitors.

"We demand solutions," she said.

Eastern Daily Press: Venetia Strangeways Booth, who owns Venetia's Yarn Shop opposite the derelict buildingVenetia Strangeways Booth, who owns Venetia's Yarn Shop opposite the derelict building (Image: Newsquest)

Venetia Strangeways Booth, the owner of Venetian's Yarn Shop which is located opposite the dilapidated property called it "unbelievably ugly and unhygienic", claiming it had become home to vermin.

She also worried that it was putting people off from visiting Fakenham's high street and that it posed a safety risk to pedestrians who are forced to walk on the road to get around the scaffolding.

"Fakenham's town centre is dying very slowly, shop by shop. New businesses are being put off opening as Fakenham doesn't look economically viable."

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Eastern Daily Press: Tim Adams, leader of North Norfolk District CouncilTim Adams, leader of North Norfolk District Council (Image: NNDC)

Tim Adams, leader of NNDC, said it is a "very complex issue" and sympathised with the annoyance it was causing in the town.

"There are very few powers available to secure the reuse of the property or its refurbishment. 

"We are seeking further work to secure the property and have done everything we can at this point and it will likely take some time to reach a desired outcome.

"We continue to meet with the freeholder to find a conclusion.

"There are other buildings in a similar situation in the district but finding a solution here is a priority for us."