Owners ordered to rebuild fire damaged pub

Over two years after being near-destroyed in a fire, the Haven Bridge pub in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk remains derelict with the council taking action against the freeholder

The blaze which occurred in March 2022 saw the building extensively damaged, with the roof collapsing during the incident. Since then it has remained covered in scaffolding being used to hold up the remaining walls.

Whilst the scaffolding prevents any immediate danger of collapse, according to Great Yarmouth Borough Council, the building “has the potential to become immediately dangerous” without this support.

Situated next to Haven Bridge, a main thoroughfare through the town which had to be closed during the fire, the site has become a focus for concerns and complaints from local businesses and the community. As a result on 5 June, GYBC served a notice to the freeholder requiring them to repair the property or demolish the derelict building and clear the site within 6 months.

Costs presented to the council for the repair of the building were in the region of £550,000, whilst demolishing it would be significantly lower at around £100,000, although there is no guarantee planning permission to demolish the building would be approved.

If the work is not completed by the freeholder in this time the council could undertake the works in default, with the possibility of the council obtaining possession of the building.

The council is also defending a claim for the cost of erecting the scaffolding by the scaffolding company, with countering claims over who is responsible for this cost – the leaseholder, the freeholder, or the council.

The council’s minutes note that they “will continue to liaise with the freeholder and leaseholder as part of the ongoing enforcement work to seek compliance with the notice and progress with direct action should there be non-compliance”.

Prior to the fire, the former pub had previously been illegally converted into a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO), but on finding significant breaches of fire regulations, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) had issued a prohibition notice.