Plans lodged to demolish town’s 107-year-old hotel destroyed by arson
PUBLISHED: 12:29 21 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:47 21 March 2018
Plans have been lodged to demolish a former hotel in Sheringham after it was set ablaze in a suspected arson attack.
Fire ripped through the 107-year-old Southlands Hotel on South Street shortly after 1am on February 28 this year.
The blaze destroyed most of the roof and top floor of the property, which was built in 1911 by James William Weston.
Earlier this month, police said they were treating the incident as arson.
The building’s owner, former Sheringham town councillor Stephen Booth, has now applied for retrospective permission to demolish the property.
While he would not comment on the plans, his agent, David Evans, confirmed the proposals were for its full demolition.
Mr Evans said it had to “come down” in the interests of public safety.
A structural appraisal report, submitted alongside the application to North Norfolk District Council, highlighted the poor condition of the building.
It said: “Following the fire, nearly all the timber floor and roof structures have been removed or significantly damaged.
“In addition, the cross-wall partitions which provided lateral stability to the external walls are now in a poor state of repair.”
Many of building’s the partitions require “immediate demolition”, the appraisal added.
It also warned that the presence of asbestos within the building was “highly likely” due to its refurbishment in the 20th century.
The appraisal said: “Tests should be undertaken to ascertain the quantity of asbestos present in the debris.”
In a letter to the council, Mr Evans said the property’s owner would be “dealing with” demolition issues and the asbestos survey.
The fire forced neighbours to flee through the snow in their nightwear as it tore through the property in February.
Six fire crews, as well as an aerial ladder platform and water carrier, spent hours trying to bring the flames under control.
Incident commander and North Walsham station manager John Baker estimated it had been burning for at least 30 minutes before emergency services were called by a nearby resident.
The building has been empty ever since it closed around ten years ago.