Street still closed by dangerous building
- Credit: Archant
A main street in Fakenham has reopened after a week of closure, when a dangerous building was inspected.
Barriers were cleared from Norwich Street around 9am on Wednesday morning, allowing vehicles through the street closed since the previous Wednesday.
An inspection of 9 Norwich Street led North Norfolk District Council to tell tenants of three flats they could only enter the building at their own risk.
A couple with a young daughter, and man, and another couple were accomodated in a nearby hotel, at a combined cost to the council of £338 per night. Since then, some have made alternative arrangements, while the council continues to pay relief duty under homelessness law.
Alex MacDonald, a cleaner in Fakenham, lived in the building with his partner and has applied for homelessness benefit to help in the long term. He said: "We reported the damage months and months ago. We have lived there 12 years, never missed rent, never missed council tax, and this is what we get.
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"The hotel staff have been amazing, but it's hard when everything is so stressful, and having to eat out every night is costing us. I'd just like to know where to go at the end of the day."
Andrew Brown, district councillor in charge of housing and planning, leases and rents out two of the flats in a private capacity. He said: "My tenants have an unblemished record with me since I took the lease in March 2018.
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"The property is in a state of disrepair, but the responsibility is on a third party. There has been no property management from the freeholder, and contacting them has been difficult."
Shopholders on the street were asked to leave when it closed to traffic and pedestrians. Some stores were inaccessible the following day, and others were cut off from the main trading street.
Janis Greenaway runs The Larder health food store, which was just outside the closed area. She said: "We initially panicked as they moved us out quite late on Wednesday, and we thought we would have to close the next day.
"The workmen moved the barriers quite early on so we could open, and our trade wasn't too badly affected by the closure.
"I'm pleased it's back open. I was told the street might have to be closed for short lengths of time in future to allow for full repairs, which obviously wouldn't help."