The owners of an “eyesore” building in the centre of Fakenham may be forced to sell up. 

A compulsory purchase order could be one way to resolve the deadlock around 9 Norwich Street, which has been unused since 2019 and covered in scaffolding since May last year

Liz Vickers, North Norfolk district councillor for Lancaster South ward in the town, spoke about the building at this month’s full council meeting, calling it a “safety hazard”.

Fakenham & Wells Times: Councillor Liz VickersCouncillor Liz Vickers (Image: North Norfolk District Council)

She said: “Pedestrians have to step into the road to pass it, which is difficult for mobility scooters and parents with pushchairs.

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“It is privately owned and I realise it is a difficult case but it has been dragging on for simply ages and the residents of Fakenham are sick of the sight of it.”

Fakenham & Wells Times: Councillor Andrew BrownCouncillor Andrew Brown (Image: NNDC)

Councillor Andrew Brown, portfolio holder for planning and enforcement, said the building became “structurally unsound” four years ago.

Mr Brown said: “We have been working with the freehold owner who is responsible for structural repairs to the property but co-operation with the freeholder hasn’t been very forthcoming.”

Mr Brown said NNDC had held meetings with the town council over the building and review of what to do next was planned.

He said: “There are various options. One may be to consider applying for a compulsory purchase order, but that would have to be debated.”

Ms Vickers also asked for the sides of the building to be cleaned up, and Mr Brown said the council would look to make the sides more secure. 

A notice for urgent repairs was served on the building’s owners in 2016.

The building used to be home to shops including Upstairs Downstairs and Ruby in the Dust, both of which sold antiques and collectables.

There are flats on the upper floors.