Norfolk

Fakenham fire: Former Aldiss shop front could be salvaged

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Media captionTwo people were led to safety as fire broke out in the town centre at Fakenham

The facade of a building which was ravaged by fire could possibly be saved, the fire service has said.

The former Aldiss department store in the centre of Fakenham, Norfolk, was gutted on Sunday. Grade II-listed buildings either side were destroyed.

Deputy chief fire officer Roy Harold said experts were "hopeful" the facade could remain but the rear of the building needed to be demolished.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is under way.

Three of the five families made homeless by the fire are staying with relatives and the other two are being housed by North Norfolk District Council.

Image copyright Mike Page
Image caption Fire destroyed the old Aldiss department store in Market Square and nearby homes

Fakenham mayor Jeremy Punchard said it was "marvellous" that the shop front could be possibly retained.

"We are in a conservation area...so to replace something like that would cost a lot of money and take a lot of time," he said.

A meeting was being held on Wednesday to discuss the gutted site's future.

North Norfolk District Council leader Tom FitzPatrick said: "It's a real concerted effort for everyone to make sure that we start the process of recovery straight away, make fast decisions and make sure Fakenham keeps on working.

"I think just about everyone I've spoken to has memories of that building.

"I spoke to Tim Aldiss on Monday - his grandfather built that shop - and to see that destroyed must have been heart-breaking."

The town's weekly market will go ahead on Thursday in the district council's car park on Bridge Street.

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