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Buyer sought for Fakenham industrial site

PUBLISHED: 14:27 29 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:09 07 July 2010

A buyer is being sought to revive a factory site at Fakenham where the value has plum-meted in four years of inactivity.

The former Oriental Express Frozen Foods plant in Parker Drive fell silent in December 2005 when it closed with the loss of 90 jobs.

A buyer is being sought to revive a factory site at Faken-ham where the value has plum-meted in four years of inactivity.

The former Oriental Express Frozen Foods plant in Parker Drive fell silent in December 2005 when it closed with the loss of 90 jobs. Since then, repeated attempts to find a buyer or tenant have failed and the shell of the factory has fallen quickly into disrepair.

The 104,000 sq ft complex was originally on the market for £3.3m, but the UK recession, a lack of business interest and collapsing property market have contributed to the price crashing to £500,000.

Property consultants said the buildings were too derelict to be of interest to modern food industries but the cut-price cost of the land might entice buyers to look at other uses.

North Norfolk District Council chiefs believe it is vital that the site stays in commercial use to help meet Fakenham's employment needs as its population expands.

William Jones, of Bidwells Property Consultants, the firm handling the sale, said: "It is a very large and very specialised piece of property for Fakenham. Half a million pounds works out at about £5 per square foot for freehold; in Norwich, that would just be a yearly rental. That's good value for money, but even if it is cheap it is no good unless someone can find a use for it."

The factory comprises steel-framed buildings that include a former cold- store, production unit, warehousing and offices. "Any modern occupier wanting this size would not want an old factory," said Mr Jones. "They would want a new building which would give them greater flexibility.

"My view is these buildings have very little value and the next logical thing is for them to be demolished, but the buyer would have to keep a close eye on planning regulations."

Steve Blatch, strategic director at North Norfolk council, said: "This site may have limited potential as a frozen food business, as there have not been any takers, but it is a site which does have employment-related activities on three-and-a-half sides of it."

The factory's former owners went into administration, and the site is now in the hands of business services group PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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