Call for action on arcade wrecked by fire

A woman whose parents' amusement arcade on Wells quayside was destroyed by a major fire two years ago says she is heartbroken to see it in its boarded-up state.

By RICHARD PARR

A woman whose parents' amusement arcade on Wells quayside was destroyed by a major fire two years ago says she is heartbroken to see it in its boarded-up state.

Kay Gelder, whose parents Donald and Emily Gray opened the arcade in 1960, says she is upset that after the fire it has been left to become an eyesore and she would like to see some plans for it to be re-opened or temporarily tidied up.

Mrs Gelder, who runs Kay's burger bar at the west end of the quayside, has backed calls from North Norfolk District Council chairman and Wells resident Joyce Trett for action to be taken.

A group of buildings along the quayside at Wells, including Grays amusement arcade, which had been operating for more than 40 years, was severely damaged in the January 24, 2005 blaze which, at one point, was fought by 80 fire-fighters.

A rumour circulating in Wells for some time is that the site may be sold to a developer and converted into a small quayside hotel but so far no planning application has been submitted.

Most Read

Mrs Trett says she is continually stopped in the street by people asking her when something is going to be done to improve the appearance of the property that has stood boarded up for two years.

"We are now approaching another summer season and it is two years since the fire and yet nothing appears to have been done about the condition of those buildings.

"It has become a real eyesore on what is regarded as the town's best feature," said Mrs Trett.

Mrs Gray said she is equally upset over the lack of action. "It is heartbreaking to see the arcade in the state it is. My dad would be ashamed to see the amenity he and my mum built up in a state like that," she said.

She said that the future of the property is in the hands of other family members and she personally cannot take any action.

As well as the amusement arcade, the fire also affected the adjoining property which traded as the Yellow shop and a large flat on the first floor.

The blaze was one of the town's biggest fires in recent years and at one point fierce flames, fanned by the brisk sea breeze, threatened to take hold of buildings at the back of the arcade and take the fire through neighbouring buildings into Staithe Street.

Andy Mitchell, development control manager (west) at North Norfolk District Council, said there had been no planning application submitted for the property.

"The district council would only get involved in this if there was concern that the existing structure had become unsafe," he said.