End to eyesore misery appears to be in sight

North Norfolk District Council could be set to make history in its bid to rid Wells of an eyesore that has scarred the town's seafront for almost six years.

The council's deputy chief executive Sheila Oxtoby told the EDP last night that key meetings are being held within the next fortnight which could result in the council pushing through with its first ever Compulsory Purchase Order.

Grays Arcade and the adjoining shop have remained boarded up since they were severely damaged by fire in January 2005.

They have remained an unattractive blot on the otherwise picturesque Wells Quayside and been a source of frustration for residents and the many tourists who visit the town.

Mrs Oxtoby said: 'North Norfolk District Council's Cabinet authorised the use of Compulsory Purchase Order powers back in May, but we allowed time for the owners to market the site themselves.

'The site has been on the market through Savills but, as far as we are aware, this has not resulted in a sale.

'So we are meeting with interested parties, including our legal advisers, within the next fortnight to assess the current position with a view to setting the CPO process in motion.'

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If a CPO was made the district council would look to sell the properties on with a commitment to redevelop the site within a specific time frame.

Meanwhile, the council has received an application from Steven Dunn Architects Ltd to demolish part of the building and transform it into a cafe and three flats.

The applicant's designs and access statement describes the site as, 'perhaps the most prominent within the Quayside in the centre of Wells.'