North Norfolk District Council approves move to compulsorily purchase North Walsham eyesore
Determined north Norfolk district councillors have set the wheels in motion to compulsorily purchase a long-standing eyesore which has blighted the historic town centre for at least seven years.
The council's cabinet this morning unanimously agreed to press ahead with the compulsory purchase of 4 and 4a Market Street, formerly a shop, which has remained in a partially-demolished state for many years, attracting pigeons, weeds and litter.
Cabinet member Trevor Ivory said 18 months of intense talks with the building's owner over his possible development of the building, or the council's negotiated purchase of it, had been unsuccessful but would continue while the compulsory purchase procedure was set up.
'We must be prepared to use these powers for the benefit of North Walsham,' said Mr Ivory. 'A lot of other major projects hang on this, like the St Nicholas Court shopping precinct. Its viability isn't helped by having this eyesore next door.
'It's dragging down the feeling of vibrancy within the town. It's gone on for far too long and we should not allow it to continue.'
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Councillor Eric Seward said he welcomed private developers in the town centre but not those who thought they could buy up property and it would not matter if they left it to deteriorate for many years.
'I'm afraid it does matter very much to those that live in the town,' said Mr Seward.
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The cabinet also approved a �46,000 contribution, to be added to �50,000 of Norfolk County Council cash, for improvements to traffic flows and safety in North Walsham Market Place.
The Leadership of Place project, the result of discussions among key groups including the town council and chamber of trade, will see signs erected before April indicating car parks, and from the car parks to the town centre.
In the financial year 2013-2014 the perpendicular parking bays will be replaced with angled slots, pavements widened, better crossing points created for pedestrians, and bus stops and loading bays moved.