Derelict seaside hotel owners to be forced to sell property to council
PUBLISHED: 13:51 04 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:51 04 November 2019
Archant Norfolk 2015
Councillors are set to take a "drastic measure" to force the owners of a derelict seaside hotel to sell them the property which has sat empty for over a decade.
The former Shannocks Hotel, in Sheringham, could be sold to the district council, after councillors agreed to make a compulsory purchase order (CPO) for the site.
At a meeting of North Norfolk District Council (NNDC)'s cabinet, held on Monday, November 4, council leader Sarah Bütikofer described the site as an "eyesore" and said Sheringham residents had dealt with the property sitting empty for a long period of time.
Richard Kershaw, cabinet member for economic development, told councillors: "We have been in conversations as to how to move this issue forward with the CPO on the property.
"We've had no response from the owners. Their plans have not been started so we are looking to resolve this as soon as we can."
He added: "It's not something we take lightly. We know it's a drastic measure to take."
A report brought to the cabinet recommended councillors approve the CPO, and said while an option was to allow the owner to continue their own plans for development, there was a "risk that without pressure from the council, these will not be progressed at all."
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It outlined "consistent pressure over a number of years" and added: "Progress has been at a slow pace and the owner has repeatedly extended the promised project start dates. The council is very concerned the owner will not develop the Shannocks. A line needs to be drawn somewhere."
Council officers said the CPO process could take as long as 18 months to be completed.
Liberal Democrat councillor Andrew Brown asked Emma Duncan, the council's head of legal services, when the CPO process was likely to take place.
Ms Duncan said the council regularly made CPOs, and added: "If there is an inquiry in respect of this - which the landlord is entitled to ask for - that's likely to need external legal support but we do have provision for that.
"The solicitor leading this feels it's appropriate to serve the notice within the next six weeks or so."
And Mrs Bütikofer added: "With regret I think it is time to move this to a close for all concerned.
"The residents of Sheringham have had this eyesore there for quite a long time."
Councillors unanimously approved the motion to issue a CPO for the Shannocks.