Work still not complete on fire-damaged flats in Mile Cross

Tenants at a fire-damaged block of flats in Norwich say they have not seen workmen for months.

The blaze at Markham Tower, on Bowers Avenue, Mile Cross, last September began on the eighth floor of the 10-storey building.

It left one flat badly damage, at least 10 more with water damage, and forced everyone out of the building while electrical work was carried out.

Four months on, while most tenants are now back in their homes, others remain empty and boarded up. The flat where the fire started is currently open to the elements, with pigeons seen settling in the open window this weekend, after contractors had to let more light in to carry out tests.

Norwich City Council said just three flats were still empty and they were expected to be ready to re-let by the end of March 2012.

But Louise Ashley, who lives on the second floor of the tower, said she had not seen any progress made on the repairs for months.

The 34-year-old said: 'We want to know what's going to happen. Those flats are empty – are the people going to be allowed back in? Have we got to move out again?

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'Is the building even stable? Because that's what we were told at the beginning, that the building was unstable.'

John Fairweather, who lives in a flat on the fourth floor, said he was still having problems with his electricity supply, despite moving back a few weeks after the fire.

Brenda Arthur, Norwich City Council leader, said a tower lift was set to be moved on to the site this week which would allow work on the final empty flats to begin.

She said the council had waited until after the festive period to avoid extra costs but hoped repairs would be completed by the end of March.

'We would like to thank the tenants again for their patience while we make the block safe and habitable,' she said.

Have you got a council-related story to tell? Call Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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