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Councillors ignore pleas to save flats

PUBLISHED: 09:31 22 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:04 22 October 2010

Anxious residents last night failed in a bid to convince Norwich City councillors to save their homes from demolition. Printing company Jarrold wants to include the council-owned land - on which the flats in Barrack Street are sited - in a multi-million-pound redevelopment of its neighbouring Whitefriars site, which would include a hotel, offices and new homes.

Anxious residents last night failed in a

bid to convince Norwich City

councillors to save their homes from demolition.

Printing company Jarrold wants to include the council-owned land - on which the flats in Barrack Street are sited - in a multi-million-pound redevelopment of its neighbouring Whitefriars site, which would include a hotel, offices and new homes.

Last night, the council's all-Labour executive committee agreed to sell the authority's freehold interest in 141-239 Barrack Street, terminate tenancies and use compulsory purchasing powers where appropriate.

The decision came despite pleas from several tenants and leaseholders who have said they wish to stay in the block of 50 one- and two-bedroom 1930s flats.

Nigel Robinson said the thought of having to move was already causing anxiety.

"I thought when I moved into council housing that I would no longer have to move at the whim of the landlord, which has happened on numerous occasions in the last 20 years. It seems I was wrong," he said.

While leaseholder Andrew Turner gave an impassioned speech, raising points including the environmental implications of demolishing homes and the lack of a consultation period - with residents only informed of the potential sell-off earlier this month.

"An Englishman's home is his castle and even if I stand alone, I shall defend it and give you a battle to save it from these plans," he said.

In a report before the council, officers said the flats were "not particularly attractive" and that the regeneration of the area would "secure a range of economic, environmental and social benefits for the city".

Although the financial details of the deal between Jarrold and the council is confidential, it is estimated it would cost more than £1m to repurchase the six flats that have been bought at market value and rehouse the remaining tenants, who would also be entitled to compensation.

But councillors said they needed to look at the benefits to the whole of Norwich and stressed that the homes facing demolition would be replaced by 60 new affordable housing association properties.

They added that some tenants were looking forward to moving into newer homes, which the council would be unable to afford itself, and denied an accusation that they stood to make a massive profit from the deal.

Chairman of the committee Steve Morphew said: "Let's not pretend, this is pretty grim. This is not a decision we are taking lightly. This is not going to be the end of the dialogue; in fact, it is just the start and there is a lot of work to be done yet."

The next stage is for Jarrold to apply for planning permission, when greater details about the proposals for the site will be made public.


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