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Town's high street stays closed due to dangerous building

PUBLISHED: 10:00 13 September 2019

Stuart Cuttler outside his business Fakenham Eyewear PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

Stuart Cuttler outside his business Fakenham Eyewear PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

Archant

Part of a town's high street remained off limits yesterday because of fears over a dangerous building.

Norwich Street, where businesses are open but nothing is usual PICTURE: Matthew FarmerNorwich Street, where businesses are open but nothing is usual PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

Norwich Street in Fakenham was closed at 3.30pm on Wednesday, when shop owners on the street were asked to leave their stores so barriers could be put up.

Residents of three flats were moved out of their homes and are being accommodated in a nearby hotel, at the cost of £338 per night.

However, shop and café owners in the area have said trade has continued to be strong.

The Wisteria Tea Room is in a courtyard which has been cut off from the main street, and customers have had to enter through a rear car park.

Barriers blocking the main access to The Wisteria tea room, beneath the entrance to flat 9C, now deserted PICTURE: Matthew FarmerBarriers blocking the main access to The Wisteria tea room, beneath the entrance to flat 9C, now deserted PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

Owner Samantha Holsey said: "We have a customer in a wheelchair who comes every Thursday and Saturday, but now the only access is down the stairs at the back.

"I expected it to be like a snow day, but we've had a really good lunch. We have been really lucky, it could've gone either way. I'd like to thank the people who did come, and the town council who have kept us up to date."

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When Sheenah Alexander-Porsby came to open up clothing shop Secret, she found the entrance was behind railings, and had to get workmen to move them. She said: "I didn't think I would be open this morning, so I've done better than I anticipated.

Sheenah Alexander-Porsby outside Secret, open as usual PICTURE: Matthew FarmerSheenah Alexander-Porsby outside Secret, open as usual PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

"We often get people peering in as they drive by, but not now."

Stuart Cuttler, owner of Fakenham Eyewear, said "Footfall has died off completely, but as a specialist shop people seek us out, so we haven't seen much difference.

Scott Greenaway was minding The Larder health food store, directly next to the closure. He said he had seen "no effect" on trade.

In a statement, a spokesperson for North Norfolk District Council said: "Work to make a property safe at Norwich Street in Fakenham is ongoing.

Scott Greenaway outside The Larder health food store, next to the closure PICTURE: Matthew FarmerScott Greenaway outside The Larder health food store, next to the closure PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

"The decision to close the road was made in the interests of public safety, following thorough investigation work by specialist engineers.

"The road will remain closed to vehicles and pedestrians until it is deemed safe to reopen. Visitors are strongly advised to use an alternative route.

"The council has taken steps to ensure that tenants affected by this situation are being supported and alternative accommodation has been arranged for them."

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