Norwich flats will have to be improved

A block of flats which has been blighted by complaints over living conditions will be sold with a legal obligation to improve it.

That is what Norwich city councillors heard at a meeting with council officials when they were told that Earlham House, which had been put up for sale for �2.35m, is now with receivers through the Bank of Ireland.

Victoria McDonald and Bert Bremner, city portfolio holders for housing and planning, together with Nelson ward Green councillors, were told that the flats, in Earlham Road, suffered from category one excess cold hazard. When inspected, they scored 11 or 12 out of 100 – action is required for anything under 35.

Denise Carlo, councillor for Nelson ward, said: 'When the flats are sold they will be sold with a court judgement against them with notices to make improvements.

'The new owner will know that they need substantial improvements. They will have to install roof insulation and proper heating and double glazing.'

The councillors were told that the site's shops and flats were separately owned, and that it was the flats which were with the bank. However, a number of the 86 flats have been sold off, leaving 60 in the hands of the receivers.

Mr Bremner said the management of the site was a 'very complicated situation'. He said there was no financial possibility of the city council buying it or doing the repairs, which could cost �300,000 to �500,000. However, he said that when the flats go up for sale again, possibly through auction, he hoped improvements would be seen.

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'I can't see how anyone would pay out presumably a million or two and not invest in it,' he said.

He added that the flats were sought after when they first opened and that improvements to the whole site would be a major benefit to the city.

A spokesman for the Bank of Ireland declined to comment.

Are you fighting for improvements in your communtiy? Call Richard Wood on 01603 772423 or email