Demolition day looming for North Walsham long-standing eyesore
- Credit: Archant
An eyesore which has been a north Norfolk market town's badge of shame for at least a decade will be gone later this year.
North Norfolk District Council has slapped a notice on 4 Market Street, North Walsham, giving its owner six months to complete the work for which he has planning permission – or demolish the dilapidated building.
And if owner Mark Tentori fails to take action by August 21, NNDC will level the site and send him the bill.
The council's get-tough decision follows many years of planning applications, sandwiched between long periods of inaction at the critical site which is close to the town's grade one-listed parish church and stands prominently at the north-west gateway to the town.
Over the years the building, once a quirky, narrow and gabled grade two-listed asset to the town centre, has crumbled into a ruinous pigeon roost and toilet.
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In a complex arrangement agreed last year, Mr Tentori, a businessman believed to be based in the Midlands, was granted permission to demolish the wreck so that he could redevelop the site with ground-floor shops and flats above.
The scheme would have incorporated NNDC land on which the former Butchery public toilets stand. They were closed, new facilities opened in the Vicarage Street car park, and the land transferred to Mr Tentori to enable the development to go-ahead.
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But permission was tightly bound with time clauses and the ultimate threat of compulsory purchase, aimed at avoiding any further delays as town leaders and residents became increasingly frustrated by what town councillor Dave Robertson once described as a 'bombsite'.
This week NNDC corporate director Nick Baker said Mr Tentori had not met deadlines for the work and had 'indicated' that he would not be able to do so.
'Our property arrangement required that it reached substantial completion by November 2014 and, given that demolition has not yet started, there is little chance of completing the works,' he said.
If the council had to demolish the remaining building and could not recover its costs from Mr Tentori, it could put the site up for sale to get its money back.
North Walsham mayor Jacqueline Belson said she remembered when the building had been a busy shop and had been dismayed over the years to see it become an eyesore.
'It is situated on the Cromer Road gateway into town and is an appalling first sighting of the historic core of our town,' she added.
Eric Seward, town, district and county councillor, said NNDC had bent over backwards to help Mr Tentori who was now in the 'last chance saloon.'
He added: 'I don't think it is appropriate any longer for the town to have to put up with this eyesore.'
Mr Tentori could not be contacted.
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