Eyesore Norwich homes finally set for demolition after standing empty for more than five years

Argyle Street, Norwich.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Argyle Street, Norwich.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Almost 20 eyesore Norwich homes are finally on the brink of being demolished - more than five years after subsidence forced a mass evacuation.

Argyle Street, Norwich.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Argyle Street, Norwich.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

But council bosses have admitted their hopes that, once the homes have been knocked down, a developer could build new houses at the site in Argyle Street, have been dashed.

The subsidence at the site is deemed to be so significant that the only option left is to spend £230,000 to knock down the homes and to turn it into a green space.

Norwich City Council, which owns the homes, moved out the tenants in 2009 after tests showed the properties were at risk of subsidence. Cracks appeared in some properties.

Not everyone who was moved out of the homes, off Rouen Road, wanted to leave. Some had said they would have preferred the city council to take action to repair the problems.

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But the council pushed ahead with the move, with the tenants who were moved out eligible for home-loss payments of around £5,000 to £6,000.

The council said at the time that it hoped to sell the properties to a housing association. Such a deal never materialised and the homes have become an eyesore, with overgrown gardens and boarding covering the windows.

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However, at a meeting of the city council's planning committee next Thursday, councillors will be asked to agree that the homes - three bungalows and 16 flats - should be demolished at last.

In the report which will be presented to councillors, officers state: 'Due to the significance of the subsidence issues affecting this site, no replacement housing is being proposed. As such, the site will largely become a green amenity space, which would complement the nearby open space and wooded ridge.'

However, one of the homes is still occupied for part of the year. An ecology report revealed a flat is used as a summer roost by bats.

That means the homes cannot be knocked down in the summer and careful checks will have to be conducted before it is knocked down. The council is likely to have to install some bat boxes in nearby trees once the flat is demolished.

If permission to knock the homes down is granted, then work is earmarked to start in January next year and would last for eight weeks.

• Have you been trying to get action over an eyesore site in Norwich? Tell us about it by emailing dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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