At last, after more than a decade, work begins next week on North Walsham eyesore

An artist's impression of the landscaped area at 4a Market Street, North Walsham

An artist's impression of the landscaped area at 4a Market Street, North Walsham - Credit: Archant

North Walsham is set to receive a Christmas present the town first requested more than a decade ago.

4a Market Street towards the end of demolition work last year.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

4a Market Street towards the end of demolition work last year.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Work to landscape the notorious 4a Market Street eyesore in the heart of the town's conservation area is due to start on Monday - and should be finished by Christmas.

The £66,000 project will involve getting rid of the boards surrounding the quaint former printer's and shop, clearing the site, paving the area and planting two 2m-3m-tall lime trees in a middle section surrounded by York stone. It will also feature three street lamps.

For those entering the town from the Cromer Road direction, the transformation will reveal a vista of North Walsham's grade one-listed parish church never seen before.

The work, carried out on behalf of the site's new owners, North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), will bring to an end a sorry saga which began in the early years of the millennium when the building, believed to date from the early 19th century, began to attract concern because it was vacant and crumbling.


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Repeated NNDC approaches to its Midlands-based owner were not heeded until it was too late to save the building.

It was finally demolished in July last year after standing as a beacon of shame at the town's western gateway for several years - dilapidated, rubbish and weed-strewn, and filled with pigeons and their droppings.

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NNDC later approved two planning applications, submitted by the owner, to build shops and flats on the site, with one scheme incorporating public toilets.

But the owner failed to start building and finally agreed to sell the site to NNDC, a £45,000 deal completed in April.

District councillor Virginia Gay, who represents the Market Street area, said: 'I'm happy with the outcome, considering where we are today. It will all be very high-quality work, in keeping with the conservation area.

'Personally, I would have liked to have seen the old building restored but the prospect of opening up a view to the church is lovely.

'It has taken such a long time to get to this stage but I think the district council has always tried to work with the owner. Unfortunately, owners aren't always co-operative and I think it's human nature that because this person was out-of-town, he wasn't seeing an eyesore every day, as we all were, and thinking that it was his responsibility.'

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