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Former hotel which was almost sucked into a sink hole could be saved

PUBLISHED: 18:00 07 May 2019

Subsidence at MJB Plantation Hotel on Earlham Road, Norwich.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Subsidence at MJB Plantation Hotel on Earlham Road, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

A former hotel that almost plunged into a sinkhole three years ago could be brought back into use - but not as a hotel.

Roger Connah, chairman of the Plantation Garden Preservation Trust, by the entrance to Plantation Garden Picture: Luke PowellRoger Connah, chairman of the Plantation Garden Preservation Trust, by the entrance to Plantation Garden Picture: Luke Powell

Plantation House has stood on Earlham Road in Norwich for more than 160 years and in 2016 suffered significant subsidence after a 20ft sink hole opened up beneath it.

It had been feared the grade II-listed building, which was built in 1857, would need to be demolished, with scaffolding put in place to protect its structure.

Now though, three years after the sink hole discovery, the building could be rescued and converted into a home.

Graham Briggs, of North Walsham, has applied to Norwich City Council to carry out works on the building to turn it into a single house with a new conservatory, garage and access gate.

The plans would also see Victorian-style iron gates erected to differentiate between the house's private grounds and Plantation Gardens, which is a public site. These gates would demarcate the boundaries, but maintain a view of the property.

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Roger Connah, chairman of the Plantation Gardens Trustees, is in full support of the bid, which he said would be good news for the surrounding area.

He said: “The grounds have been abused in the last few years with far too many people accessing it that shouldn't be – somebody living there would stop that.

“This would be a far better use for the building than a hotel and we want to discourage out-of-hours access to the site, which somebody living there would really help to do.”

Mr Connah added that the plans did not in any way compromise the public access to Plantation Gardens, with the trustees still holding the lease for the public areas.

He added: “It will take some time for the work to be done – the sink hole still needs to be filled and then the works to the house itself, but once complete it has the potential to be the best property in Norwich.”

The hotel was previously owned by MJB hotelier Tony Burlingham, but has not operated as a hotel since 2016.

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