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Work set to start on Norwich shopping centre's pot-holed car park

PUBLISHED: 17:00 25 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:25 02 July 2010

Norwich South MP Charles Clarke at Earlham House.

Norwich South MP Charles Clarke at Earlham House.

Sarah Hall

Long-awaited work to sort out a pot-hole filled car park at a Norwich shopping centre will finally start next month - after the city council ran out of patience with the private owner and pledged to do the work itself.

Long-awaited work to sort out a pot-hole filled car park at a Norwich shopping centre will finally start next month - after the city council ran out of patience with the private owner and pledged to do the work itself.

The saga over the Earlham House shopping centre car park has been dragging on for more than two years, with families fed up with the state of the car park.

The car park is full of pot-holes and regularly floods, so Norwich City Council has been trying to get the owners Relay Arch to fix it.

Last November the city council issued a section 215 notice on the owners, giving them a date of February 8 to carry out the work. However, that deadline came and went and City Hall will now carry out the work next month and bill the owners.

Both the Green Party and Norwich South Labour MP Charles Clarke have been campaigning for improvements while more than 800 people have signed a petition demanding action.

Mr Clarke said: “As the landlord of Earlham House has consistently refused to make improvements and used every delaying tactic possible, I have pushed for Norwich City Council to use a Section 215 notice, carry out the works themselves and simply re-charge the landlord for the cost of this.

“The council have resisted this up until now, but last week I was told that because of the powerful campaign and constant agitation on this issue, they have finally agreed to serve this legal notice and start work on the centre during March. As ever, the proof will be in the actual physical work undertaken, but this is a good sign and shows movement.”

More than 800 people had signed a petition calling for action on the car park.

Meanwhile, action is still being taken over the flats at the site, after tests in 2008 revealed a number of them were excessively cold.

Inspections by the city council led to 50 improvement notices being served on Relay Arch, which owns 60 of the 84 flats and some have been fitted with new storage heaters.

While Relay Arch fitted new storage heaters in 30 of them, they will have to ensure all the flats it owns have better heating by March 12 and double glazing and improved insulation installed by the winter.

A spokeswoman for the city council: “There are a number of issues at the site that have been well documented. The condition of the car park and levels of cold in the flats are such that the council has deemed it necessary to take enforcement action.

“This is something we would always consider as a last resort and after the owners, who are responsible for improving these conditions, have refused to co-operate.

“The strict legislation we have to follow, means we are working as quickly as the process allows, and frustratingly for us and those affected, this may not always be visible to the public.”

Nobody from Shropshire-based 4D Property Management, which manages the site on behalf of owners Relay Arch, was available to comment.

Are you fighting to get an eyesore sorted out where you live? Tell us your story by calling reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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