‘Dereham deserves better’ - Demand for action over town’s abandoned restaurant
PUBLISHED: 12:05 04 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:15 04 March 2020
It has been closed for nearly half a decade, but the abandoned Indian restaurant remains frozen in time with its menu still hung on the wall outside and salt and pepper shakers laid out on tables.
Dereham's long-forgotten Akaash Tandoori Restaurant, based on Market Place, closed its doors for the final time back in late 2015.
And despite repeated calls from residents, visitors and councillors to do something about the disused building, dead plants remain in the window collecting dust.
Breckland Council says it is doing what it can to move forward, and had been working to track down the owners.
Harry Clarke, both a Dereham Town councillor and Breckland District Councillor, first put together a plan of action with the district council back in the middle of 2017 but since then, he said nothing has come to fruition.
"It's been nearly three years since something has been done," he said. "Sometimes I've felt like a lone voice and to say it is a frustration is an understatement.
"The building is in a dangerous state, the alarm goes off in it all the time.
"Would this happen in some other town or some other place? No, it would not. People think 'this is Dereham' when they come to the town."
Mr Clarke said he believed that action would only happen now if the building "started falling into the street".
"It can't be that difficult to sort it.
"I'm just ashamed and I've stopped raising [the issue].
"Dereham deserves better."
Breckland councillor Alison Webb also raised the issue of the appearance of the building at a recent Dereham Town Council meeting.
Speaking to the full council, she explained that Breckland Council was still trying to find out who is ultimately responsible for the building before they can go any further with regards to repairs.
Speaking after the meeting, she said: "It is listed on the unsightly sites register but the issue was finding the owner.
"It is unsightly and does need something doing about it. It is not nice."
She claimed the district council was doing "everything it can to move things forward" and said the enforcement team had confirmed that the building was safe in its current condition.
A Breckland Council spokesperson added: "We are currently waiting for an update from the Akaash Restaurant before deciding on the most appropriate course of action."
It is believed that the owners have now been traced.
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