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Hotel owner furious over impact of wall collapse on trade

PUBLISHED: 10:22 16 July 2020

Robin Twigge, owner of The Swan Hotel in Harleston, says his business is suffering following the closure of Swan Lane due to a collapsed wall. Picture: Archant/Robin Twigge

Robin Twigge, owner of The Swan Hotel in Harleston, says his business is suffering following the closure of Swan Lane due to a collapsed wall. Picture: Archant/Robin Twigge

Archant/Robin Twigge

A hotel owner has criticised a lack of action following the collapse of a wall which blocked access to his business.

Swan Lane in Harleston has been closed following the collapse of an adjacent wall. Picture: Robin TwiggeSwan Lane in Harleston has been closed following the collapse of an adjacent wall. Picture: Robin Twigge

Robin Twigge, who runs The Swan Hotel in Harleston, says his trade continues to suffer after the listed wall crumbled onto Swan Lane at the beginning of June.

An emergency closure was put in place by Norfolk County Council on June 11, but the road remains shut five weeks later - with no sign of efforts to repair the privately-owned structure.

The blockage means guests and pub patrons are unable to reach the hotel’s rear car park from the west end of the lane, nor from the east end due to Swan Lane’s one-way system.

Mr Twigge says his frustration over the saga has reached breaking point.

“The wall is built on flint and beautiful red brick, but it is very old and was starting to bow,” said Mr Twigge.

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“Eventually it just collapsed at the beginning of June, and now you simply cannot come down here and get into our car park.

“I have reported it to the town council, to South Norfolk Council and to Norfolk County Council, but nobody can tell me what is going on. They all say they are ‘aware’ and that’s it.”

After a lengthy period of closure amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Swan, like thousands of other business across the nation, was permitted by the government to reopen on July 4.

Robin Twigge, owner of The Swan Hotel in Harleston, says his business is suffering following the closure of Swan Lane due to a collapsed wall. Picture: Robin TwiggeRobin Twigge, owner of The Swan Hotel in Harleston, says his business is suffering following the closure of Swan Lane due to a collapsed wall. Picture: Robin Twigge

Mr Twigge admits he expected a slow first couple of weeks back, but says tough circumstances have been made even more challenging.

“For my older customers the lack of parking is especially problematic,” added Mr Twigge. “There are lot of regulars who come here but also go off into town to do other things, and they can’t do that now.

“It may well be a private house but there is no excuse for it taking so long to do anything.

“What worries me is that the wall surely cannot be rebuilt with the road open, so we’re looking at it being closed for at least another five weeks.”

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “We are in contact with a structural engineer who is working with the owner to make arrangements to demolish or rebuild the wall as soon as possible.”


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