30/8/06 – Call to demolish derelict building
Printed in the Swindon Advertiser, 30th August 2006
A DERELICT building should be torn down before someone gets hurt, councillors have said.
Police have repeatedly been called out to the Brown Brothers building on Dorcan Way after yobs have broken in.
Most of the windows have been smashed and residents are concerned about what goes on inside.
Swindon Council owns the site, but local councillors say they are powerless to get the building pulled down without the consent of the building’s leaseholders, UGC Properties Limited.
The site was handed over under a 99-year lease in the 1960s.
Planning approval has been granted to turn the area into almost 150 flats, but the development has been held up by a wrangle over how much money any potential developer would have to give to the council in infrastructure contributions.
The building is being sold to Abbey Developments Ltd.
Coun Glenn Smith (Con, Covingham and Nythe) said he wanted the building demolished as soon as possible. He has spoken repeatedly to the council’s property team, which in turn has contacted UGC Properties urging it to upgrade security.
“It appears the security on the site is not adequate,” Coun Smith said. “We have no power to get them to have security on the site for 24 hours a day. We are going to ask them again.
“They have a duty of care. I know there have been some kids getting in there and causing havoc.
“I have had calls from residents late at night saying there are children in there again. The sooner it gets torn down the better.”
Coun Dale Heenan (Con, Covingham and Nythe) added: “People shouldn’t be in there. They’re trespassing. It is only a small minority of children who are doing this but Glenn and I have both raised the issue of the site access and security with the council’s property department and the health and safety team a number of times, urging them to contact those responsible to deal with the problem.
“It is the leaseholder’s responsibility to keep these sites secure so people cannot gain access to them.
“Unfortunately, this keeps happening and we are concerned over their safety especially in the event of a serious accident.”
Insp Duncan Mason, of Swindon police, warned that those who go in the building could face prosecution.
“We do get quite regular calls out there and it’s derelict and quite a hazardous place to be,” he said.
“It’s fair to say that we have had a number of calls of youngsters who have broken in.
“It’s a derelict site and not properly lit and there’s broken glass.
“What I would also say is anyone who is in there is a risk of being arrested for criminal damage.”