Frustration as building sits empty seven years after compulsory purchase
PUBLISHED: 08:21 15 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:01 15 May 2020
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2016
Feelings of “frustration” and “disappointment” have been expressed after a town’s building which was compulsory purchased by Norfolk County Council has been left empty since 2013.
The former Cosy Carpets building in Minstergate, Thetford, was discussed during Norfolk County Council’s virtual cabinet meeting on Monday, May 11.
At the meeting, Norfolk County Councillor for Thetford West, Terry Jermy, raised the question: “Could the cabinet please provide an update in relation to what is happening with the former Cosy Carpets building”.
But in its response, the council revealed that seven years later no progress has been made.
NCC stated: “The site is subject to a current legal case scheduled for the upper tribunal under the title “Nolan Guthrie v Norfolk County Council”.
“All parties are working together to resolve the case in advance of reaching Land Tribunal.
“It is therefore inappropriate to discuss at this point.”
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Jermy expressed his disappointment that the building is to remain empty until a decision is reached.
He said: “The building was upgraded at considerable expense and has sat empty for many years which is very frustrating.
“I am sure local residents would like to see something positive done with the building which is why I submitted my question to the council’s cabinet.
“I’m disappointed to learn the legal process still hasn’t been resolved and that has caused lack of action on site.”
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The building was originally acquired using Moving Thetford Forward (MTF) money as part of the £3.4m bus interchange project.
In 2013 a compulsory purchase order (CPO) was approved and it was estimated that NCC spent around £600,000, including a design fee cost of £100,000, on the building’s refurbishment, despite a council spokesperson admitting back in 2016, that the building had no “service need”.
But the decision was appealed by the building’s owner, Nolan Guthrie, who remains in legal proceedings with Norfolk County Council.
Now Mr Jermy is awaiting answers from a Freedom of Information Act request, to find out just how much of taxpayers’ money NCC spent on the site, which he fears may have been wasted.
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