The owners of a rundown building have been prosecuted by Wellingborough Council after ignoring an official notice to carry out repairs.
The former Angel Hotel on Silver Street is in such a state of disrepair that it's ruining the character of one of the town's main shopping streets.
Mayfair Charities Ltd, owners of the former hotel, were instructed to improve the appearance of the building by repairing the outside. A lack of maintenance had led to it becoming dilapidated and the owners were given two months to carry out an extensive list of repairs. They were fined £415 by the courts when they failed to start the work.
The council is able to instruct property owners to improve the appearance of buildings when they're not maintained properly. The official notice and list of improvements were issued to the owners of the former hotel after more informal attempts to ask them to repair the building were unsuccessful. The prosecution occurred when the official notice was ignored.
A number of repairs were believed to be necessary, including restoring paintwork, removing protective boarding from the windows, renewing rendering and filling in cracks, cleaning off moss growth, and restoring and repointing brickwork.
The Angel Hotel closed in the 1960s and was later used as a doctors' surgery and then an art shop and showroom. It has been vacant for around 20 years. Two years ago Wellingborough town centre was designated as a conservation area, and it became apparent that something needed to be done about the building's rundown appearance.
Councillor Graham Lawman, chairman of the council's development committee said: "Many people had noticed and commented upon the gradual deterioration of this historic building and Wellingborough Council has long been concerned about it, so we have acted. Its prominence in both a conservation area and on a street which has recently benefitted from renovation works meant that something had to be done. We're working hard to enhance and improve our historic town centre, and it's a shame when buildings like this become an eyesore through lack of maintenance. We want the owners to sort out the damaged masonry, remove unsightly boarding and give the whole building a coat of paint to make it look much better."
The fine issued to Mayfair Charities for failing to carry out the repairs was reasonably lenient in recognition of the company's promise to carry out the work later this month. Cllr Lawman added: "The owners have assured us they will now comply with the notice and will begin the repairs by the end of the month. We will be watching and would expect the scaffolding to go up in the next few weeks. If it doesn't we will issue instructions for them to be taken back to court."