A councillor has accused her own local authority of failing to act to solve the issue of an "eyesore" building in a market town.

Liz Vickers, councillor for Fakenham Lancaster South, has accused North Norfolk District Council of not taking a “clear position” over 9 Norwich Street.

It is a property that has been causing issues in Fakenham since 2019.

It has been covered in scaffolding since May 2022, and had a building wrap installed last year.

Fakenham & Wells Times: The building has caused controvesyThe building has caused controvesy (Image: Aaron McMillan)

Mrs Vickers clashed with council leader Tim Adams during a full council meeting, after asking him: "To stop procrastinating, make a decision and at least take a position by the end of March 2024."

Mr Adams replied, saying: "We have taken a position on 9 Norwich Street in that we are trying to bring it back into reuse."

The Fakenham councillor was unhappy with the reply, saying he provided “a very long-winded answer” which was “very short on transparency.”

Fakenham & Wells Times: Liz Vickers, North Norfolk District Councillor for Fakenham Lancaster SouthLiz Vickers, North Norfolk District Councillor for Fakenham Lancaster South (Image: North Norfolk District Council)

Mr Adams refuted these claims, saying he was “not happy saying that I’m hiding anything.”

Also speaking at the meeting was Susan Parry, who lives in Fakenham and said: “I know that the issues are complex but you and only you have the knowledge, ability and will to get this result and repeatedly the can has been kicked down the road.

"Don't bring me problems, bring me solutions."

She was joined by Venetia Strangwayes-Booth, owner of Venetia’s Wool Shop, who added: “It is full of pigeons, rats and other vermin.

"Rubbish is piling up behind the scaffolding. So it's just not very nice. Fakenham town centre is dying very slowly, shop by shop, and no business is going to come and open a business in a dying town centre.”

Fakenham & Wells Times: Venetia Strangways-Booth, owner of Venetia’s wool shopVenetia Strangways-Booth, owner of Venetia’s wool shop (Image: Archant)

In response, Mr Adams said the council has “very limited powers to secure the reuse of property or its sale or refurbishment”, but believes they were getting closer to a resolution, adding: “We are in ongoing discussion and negotiation with the freeholder to seek that conclusion.

"Hopefully, we are halfway through that process if not further, but this building does remain a priority.”

Speaking after the meeting, Mrs Vickers, added: “Cllr Adams said he wants to bring the building back into use, but he doesn’t say when.

Fakenham & Wells Times: Photo taken from behind the scaffolding and boards at 9 Norwich Street, FakenhamPhoto taken from behind the scaffolding and boards at 9 Norwich Street, Fakenham (Image: Venetia Strangways-Booth)

“This is a vague aspiration, not a decision. Back in June 2023, we were told a side panel would be placed to stop rubbish blowing in. Nothing has happened.

"The council has failed to take even this small step to assist the people of Fakenham. We need a solution to this blight on our community.”

In response, Mr Adams said: “9 Norwich Street, Fakenham is a complex matter but we continue to work to resolve the issues.

“We understand it’s frustrating for local businesses and residents and have already offered to meet with members of the public who raised concerns at last night’s full council.

Fakenham & Wells Times: Tim Adams, Leader of North Norfolk District CouncilTim Adams, Leader of North Norfolk District Council (Image: NNDC)

“The building is privately owned, and we therefore do not have any direct control over the building.

"There are very limited powers the council has to secure its reuse immediately, sadly examples such as this exist around the country and elsewhere in the district.

“Achieving a long-term solution is not a simple or quick process, however, the council is fully committed to finding an appropriate resolution at the very earliest opportunity.”

The building used to house the antique shop Upstairs Downstairs. A notice for urgent repairs was issued in 2019.