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Tidy-up check at eyesore hotel

PUBLISHED: 15:17 17 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:24 03 July 2010

Enforcement officers will today visit the site of a derelict hotel to check whether its owners have complied with an ultimatum to tidy it up.

Local frustration with the state of the Royal Oak in Ormesby St Margaret has triggered the action which could lead to the borough council starting formal proceedings against Beccles-based Cripps Developments.

Enforcement officers will today visit the site of a derelict hotel to check whether its owners have complied with an ultimatum to tidy it up.

Local frustration with the state of the Royal Oak in Ormesby St Margaret has triggered the action which could lead to the borough council starting formal proceedings against Beccles-based Cripps Developments.

Matt Whitton, borough council enforcement officer, said the eyesore building in the heart of the village was among a raft of others being dealt with under legislation aimed at forcing owners of sites that are blighting neighbourhoods to clean them up.

Controversial plans to convert the hotel into homes and add more houses to its footprint were passed on appeal, despite objections from the parish council and neighbours worried about the effect of the development in a conservation area, among other things.

Since then nothing has happened on the site which has become a target for vandals, and a blot on Ormesby's otherwise picturesque landscape.

Mr Whitton said: “We had a complaint while the site was active and councillor Jim Shrimplin took up the matter formally.

What the government requires us to do is write to the owners of the land and advise them of our powers under section 215 of the town and country planning act in 1990, giving them a reasonable time to respond.

“We are one of the boroughs that uses it most in the country. The Royal Oak is a building site for development so you would expect it to be untidy, but it has been dormant for a while.

“The developer gave an undertaking that staff would paint over graffiti and board up windows by Friday. However, you cannot require too much from a site that is being developed.”

Under the orders the council can instruct the owners of eyesore sites to tidy them up and if the work is not done they can either prosecute or carry out the work themselves and reclaim the costs.

Mr Whitton said the Iron Duke pub in North Drive, Great Yarmouth, was a recent success and that the owners of the Art College next to St Georges Park had said they would tidy up their site before the main holiday season got under way.

The Elephant and Castle Pub is among a dozen to have recently received tidy-up ultimatums. About 50 have been issued in the last few years with a 100pc success rate. Mr Whitton recalled that all but one of the owners had complied in the first instance with no need for further legal action.

In the one case where there was a problem, someone had died, he recalled. He urged people to make their feelings known about eyesore buildings and that it was one of the areas in which the council could really make a difference.

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