Compulsory purchase order to tackle Wells eyesore

Richard Batson The five-year saga of an eyesore burned out arcade on a North Norfolk harbour front is set to be tackled by a council compulsory purchase order.Wells' scenic quayside has been scarred by the boarded-up complex since it was ravaged by fire in January 2005.

Richard Batson

The five-year saga of an eyesore burned-out arcade on a North Norfolk harbour front is set to be tackled by a council compulsory purchase order.

Wells's scenic quayside has been scarred by the boarded-up complex since it was ravaged by fire in January 2005.

But efforts by officials to encourage redevelopment of the site have reached a stalemate, fuelling frustration and anger in the town, culminating in an 800-name petition handed in last week calling for action.


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North Norfolk District Council is however poised to seek a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to drive things on.

Local district councillor Joyce Trett reaction to the move was “yippee!”, adding: “It is a good way forward and everyone in town will be immensely pleased about it.”

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She said Wells was taking strides forward with plans to improve the Maltings, provide a new car park, and boosts to the harbour as a wind farm servicing base. So the arcade site needed redeveloping too, and she hoped the CPO would spur on some progress.

A report to the council cabinet says the site owners had taken action to deal with complaints about rat infestation, pigeon mess and the stability of buildings but they “remain derelict and in poor condition” and would deteriorate further without intervention.

Previous attempts to sell the site had seen bids tabled by interested parties but not accepted, and “lack of positive engagement by one of the owners continues to hinder any real progress,” says the report by deputy chief executive Sheila Oxtoby.

There was evidence of interest in the site, which a regeneration study had highlighted as a “blight on the town and its tourist potential” but which could be used for a mix of retail and residential which would provide “social, economic and environmental benefits for the community.”

The arcade was opened in 1960 by the Gray family. The fire which destroyed it also affected a shop and flat next door.

The order, which would cost �23,000, will be discussed ate the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, May 4.

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