"We're looking to move soon" - Neighbours' anger over derelict building fires

The aftermath of the fire at Abbeville Lodge care home in Great Yarmouth. Photo: Submitted

The aftermath of one of several fires at Abbeville Lodge care home in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Archant

Fed-up neighbours are planning to move due to constant fires at a derelict building.

Residents of School Road Back, close to Acle New Road, Great Yarmouth, have suffered as the old Abbeville care home has been set ablaze multiple times over the past two years.

One resident said: "I’ve been here 15 years, and the ongoing fires have become a really bad issue. We're looking to move soon."

Christine Nicholson, 70, of School Road, said: “The first fire was really bad as the wind was blowing towards our house. There was so much smoke."

“Prior to that, we had seen a lot of people going in the property: homeless people, children about 10 years old or even younger making a lot of noise.


You may also want to watch:


"Then the fires started happening," Mrs Nicholson continued. 

“It’s just been a nightmare, really."

One of the most recent fires at the derelict building took place on Sunday, April 25.

Most Read

Mrs Nicholson's husband, Kevin, 64, voiced his worries: "I’m concerned that if something were to happen again, the fire might spread down the street."

Catherine and Kevin Nicholson.

Catherine and Kevin Nicholson are planning on moving before the new build begins. - Credit: James Weeds

In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: “Following the fire in the autumn, the council undertook emergency fencing works around the fire-damaged building and erected ‘keep out’ warning signs.

"Officers contacted the owner to advise that the owner is responsible for ongoing security of their property and set out works required to secure the site further.

"Following the most recent fire, the council contacted the owner again for an update and we understand they are making arrangements for demolition and site clearance.

"The council would like this work to take place as soon as possible."

The aftermath of the fire at Abbeville Lodge care home in Great Yarmouth. Photo: Submitted

The aftermath of one of several fires at Abbeville Lodge care home in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Archant

Elizabet Bigodinho, a resident of School Road Back, said: “It needs to be demolished. Otherwise, this is going to keep happening. 

“All of the neighbours, all of us, we’re getting tired of it."

The aftermath of the fire at Abbeville Lodge care home in Great Yarmouth. Photo: Submitted

The aftermath of one of several fires at Abbeville Lodge care home in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Archant

Also included in the Council statement was their approval of a planning application to redevelop the site.

Plans have been submitted for the site, but these have proved controversial amongst nearby residents.

Draft plans, submitted by applicant Mark Wakerley, with an address in Essex, show 16 three-storey houses with garages on the ground floor.

School Road Back resident, Trevor Davis, who has lived in his house for fifteen years, said: “It’s ridiculous that there are going to be more houses here.

"We barely get any sunlight as it is, and with new houses there, we won't get any. 

“The Council asked us for our opinion, but they didn’t listen. The houses are still being built."

A sign for the former Abbeville Lodge care home in Great Yarmouth. Photo: Andy Darnell

A sign for the former Abbeville Lodge care home in Great Yarmouth. Photo: Andy Darnell - Credit: Archant © 2011

Ms Bigodinho commented: “I wish they would make a garden, or a park for the kids.

"That way the kids won’t waste their time burning buildings.

"But, it’s private land, so I doubt that would happen."

Mr Nicholson said: “Just knock it down! It all started not long after the care home closed.

Kids used to climb in and throw things that were left in the building, they used to throw things in our garden, then I believe it was ransacked for anything valuable inside.

“It’s such an eyesore."

The old Abbeville Lodge is very close to other properties on School Road Back

The old Abbeville Lodge is very close to other properties on School Road Back. - Credit: James Weeds

“Our main concern is that the fire engines can’t come down our road," Mr Nicholson continued. 

"I know they can use hoses and whatnot, but that all takes time. The biggest truck you can get round here will be a 3.5 tonne.

“The dust cart struggles most weeks.

“I cannot understand why the building hasn’t been knocked down. The children are only going in there because it’s a novelty. If it’s knocked down, they won’t go there.”

The architects for the proposed new build have been contacted.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter