Wells Deli planning to reopen The Crown Hotel in Fakenham
A Wells company is planning to reopen Fakenham's most prominent hotel, which has been empty for almost three years.
Wells Deli has agreed terms for a long-term lease of The Crown from Wildmoor Properties in a move that will be seen to bring prosperity to Fakenham and improve the entire image of the town.
The Crown has been a forlorn sight in Market Place since it closed in March 2009; the 17th-century building's sorry state has been a major source of frustration for townsfolk and visitors.
Wells Deli owner Matthew Turner told the EDP that he planned to reopen the building as a hotel with a cafe and bar downstairs.
But his plans are being held up due to discussions between Wildmoor Properties and its insurance company.
The discussions relate to damage caused to the hotel's three floors and 11 bedrooms in a flood last winter when a pipe burst.
Mr Turner said: 'We currently do not have a time scale and, unfortunately, I can not even attempt to estimate when we will be able to get in there to start renovating the place. But I can say that we have agreed the terms of the lease with Wildmoor Properties and, regardless of what happens with the insurance company, we will be moving in and taking over the running of The Crown in Fakenham.'
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He added: 'Fakenham badly needs and deserves some investment, and getting The Crown up and running will breathe new life and optimism into the town. But it is important for people to remain patient because this could take some time.'
The EDP understands that Wildmoor Properties, which owns several buildings in Fakenham, including most of the units in the Miller's Walk shopping precinct, is planning to create a new, small shopping area behind The Crown Hotel.
Nobody from Wildmoor Properties was available to comment on this.