Developers warned after half-demolished pub becomes ‘eyesore’ in town

The Ark pub in Thetford has been left derelict for more than a year. Photo: Emily Thomson

The Ark pub in Thetford has been left derelict for more than a year. Photo: Emily Thomson - Credit: Archant

Developers have been warned that formal action may be taken against them, after complaints a half-demolished pub has become an “eyesore” in a town.

The Ark pub in Thetford has been left derelict for more than a year. Photo: Emily Thomson

The Ark pub in Thetford has been left derelict for more than a year. Photo: Emily Thomson - Credit: Archant

The Ark pub, in Thetford, has stood in a state of disrepair for more than a year, after developers started the illegal demolition of the 165-year-old building in August 2019.

Chippy Capital Ltd was forced to stop the demolition due to incorrect planning permission and the derelict site has since been left empty with no future plans revealed.

MORE: ‘What on Earth has happened?’ - Confusion as demolition starts on 165-year-old pub.

Breckland Council have been in contact with the developer to ensure the site does not deteriorate any further but said if the appearance does not improve, as requested, they “may consider taking formal action”.

The Ark pub in Thetford has been left derelict for more than a year. Photo: Emily Thomson

The Ark pub in Thetford has been left derelict for more than a year. Photo: Emily Thomson - Credit: Archant

A council spokesman said: “After being notified in 2019 that a developer had started demolition of The Ark without the relevant planning consent, the council intervened and put a halt to any further work on the site.


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“It was agreed with the developer that the building would be made weatherproof and safe and Breckland has since written to the developer in February 2020 and September 2020 to ensure that the site does not deteriorate any further.

“But the condition and appearance of the site is the responsibility of the landowner.

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“We are monitoring the situation closely to ensure no further demolition takes place until a planning application is submitted and considered by the council’s planning committee.”

The Ark pub in Thetford has been left derelict for more than a year. Photo: Emily Thomson

The Ark pub in Thetford has been left derelict for more than a year. Photo: Emily Thomson - Credit: Archant

MORE: Builders ordered to stop demolition of 165-year-old pub.

But families living near to the pub have said they are “sick of the sight of it” and want something to be done.

Warren Sullivan, a home owner on Norwich Road said: “It is a mess and it has been for months now.

“I would like it cleared up a bit because it is an eyesore, but it is up to the council to make them do it.

Breckland Councillor Roy Brame in Thetford. Photo: Emily Thomson

Breckland Councillor Roy Brame in Thetford. Photo: Emily Thomson - Credit: Archant

“I don’t know if there are going to turn into housing or not, but I think they should bring the pub back and build around it.”

Another Norwich road resident said: “The pub had failed three or four times so we assumed it would get knocked down and turned into flats.

“But we don’t really care what happens at this point, we just want something done - it just looks like a state.”

Tim Thornby, from the Cloverfield estate, added: “It’s like a bomb site and I am sick to death seeing it when I drive in and out of the town.

“As far as I’m concerned, the ideal situation would be for the building to be restored back to what it was or sell the land and build flats or affordable housing.

“But in the meantime, they need to clear it or cover it up so we are not faced with this eyesore.”

Breckland councillor for the Castle Ward, Roy Brame, has reassured the community that the pub has not been forgotten.

He said: “The people who own the site should get their act together and do something about it and we are pursuing them.

“But had it not been for Covid, I believe something more would have been done.

“We have to show a little bit more patience. It hasn’t been forgotten and I am checking on it regularly.”

Chippy Capital could not be contacted for comment.

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