Owner says demolished building was 'beyond repair' after safety fears

Roger Gawn (right) has defended his decision to demolish a building in Wicken Green after residents raised concerns. 

Roger Gawn (right) has defended his decision to demolish a building in Wicken Green after residents raised concerns. - Credit: Steve Adams/Andrew Jickells

A landowner has defended his decision to demolish buildings on his site - saying they are beyond repair.

Roger Gawn, owns TP3 LTD and owns land in Wicken Green, Fakenham. On April 4 the company sparked fears from locals around asbestos and safety after tearing down part of a building on its site.

Images of the site in a state of disarray were shared on social media and saw concerns over a lack of fencing around the area.

Mr Gawn reassured them a fence will be in place 'as soon as possible' to protect people, adding there is no asbestos in them after the former Ministry of Defence (MoD) site was decommissioned, the MoD dealt with it.

Roger Gawn

Roger Gawn, owns TP3 LTD, who in turn owns land in Wicken Green, Fakenham. - Credit: Steve Adams

North Norfolk District Council said the demolition has been raised with them and officers are investigating that it was carried out safely and following the correct processes.

Mr Gawn said he met up with officers from NNDC last week.

The owner of Melton Constable Hall said the demolition has made the area safe and should provide no issue, as they are on private land.

The building on Wicken Green that has been demolished.

The building on Wicken Green that has been demolished. - Credit: Andrew Jickells

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“These buildings had been vandalised by people constantly over the last 10 years,” Mr Gawn said.

“When vandals come onto the site, smash windows and break through the door and leave it wide open, children could walk in there and get hurt.

“We have taken the gable end of the building, which had been heavily vandalised, and piled it up so it is no longer a possibility, in our opinion, we have made it safe.

“If people go on private land then they are asking for trouble, they should not be going on there.”

The demolition is part of a big renovation for the area, according to Mr Gawn, with plans on the way for a new shop, restaurant, community centre and other facilities.

Mr Gawn said the building was beyond economic repair - hence why he decided to demolish it.

Mr Gawn said the building was beyond economic repair - hence why he decided to demolish it. - Credit: Andrew Jickells

“These buildings are beyond any economic repair,” Mr Gawn added.

A spokesman for NNDC said: "The council is investigating with the health and safety executive to ensure it was carried out safely and following the correct processes.

"Demolitions of a certain size should be reported formally to the council and health and safety executive, to ensure that they are carried out safely.

"Demolitions that don’t meet a size exemption require a Section 81 (of the Building Act 1984) notification and cannot be undertaken without – failure to comply is a breach of the legislation.”