Demolition has started at the site where a devastating fire destroyed CT Baker Budgens of Holt almost five weeks ago.
The remaining steel structure and each of the two gable ends is being removed in an operation that is expected to continue until mid-August. Hoarding has been erected to keep members of the public safe.
Access has been reinstated via the walkway through to Appleyard and the smaller car park accessed from Kerridge Way has reopened and is currently free of charge.
There has been no doubt that the loss of the store has been keenly felt by the local community as Jane Gurney-Read, Managing Director of CT Baker Group, reflected: “The store was so much more than a supermarket, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic where our colleagues were a lifeline for many local people. It was an integral part of the local community.”
“The outpouring of support shown by our community, not just to us, but to each other during the pandemic and certainly since the fire has been quite incredible. People have come together in a remarkable show of unity.”
The Group moved quickly to reinstate services lost following the fire, including its Post Office and home delivery service. Within five days, its Post Office, the only one in the town, was up and running as a ‘pop-up’ in Bakers & Larners of Holt. Jess Read, is part of the team who ran the Post Office in CT Baker Budgens of Holt and now serves customers from her new position in Market Place, said: “Customers have been so pleased with how quickly we were able to reinstate our Post Office, it’s great that we’ve been able to continue to provide the service and support so many local people for whom it is essential.”
The home delivery service was reintroduced within a week of the fire and is now run from the Group’s Budgens store in Aylsham. Working with the District and Town Councils in the immediate aftermath to ensure vulnerable customers were not left without supplies, Budgens of Holt’s delivery driver, Mike, is now fulfilling up to 150 deliveries in and around Holt per week, many to vulnerable people who are unable to leave their home.
Jane Gurney-Read is now looking to the future: “My team and I are working together with all the relevant parties, including the District Council’s planning team, to get moving on plans to replace Budgens of Holt as quickly as we can. I am absolutely committed to rebuilding the store, and am now considering all the options open to us for a temporary solution in the meantime. These will be shared as soon as they are confirmed.”