The owners of a derelict building have been prosecuted by Wellingborough Council after ignoring an official notice requesting its appearance be improved.
The building, at 15 Great Park Street, is in such a state of disrepair that it's ruining the character of Wellingborough town centre's conservation area.
Owners Mr Sarath Abeysundera and Mr Yakoob Dassu were given an extensive list of repairs that were considered necessary to remedy the situation. These included removing shrubs, vegetation and ivy from the walls and repairing the brickwork, replacing all broken and missing glass window panes, removing rust from metal surfaces and restoring the paint finish, and replacing missing and damaged roof slates.
The council is able to instruct property owners to improve the appearance of buildings in conservation areas where they're not maintained properly. Contact was first made with the owners of the Great Park Street building in April 2010 and again in August of the same year, advising them of the council's concerns about the state of the building. An email exchange took place over the next couple of months and the owners suggested they would be converting the building into flats. As they made no firm commitment to do this, and no action was taken towards achieving the conversion, the council decided to issue an official notice demanding the necessary improvements be carried out. Mr Abeysundera and Mr Dassu were given three months from the date of the notice to improve the building and when they failed to start work they were prosecuted.
Both men pleaded guilty at Wellingborough Magistrates Court last week and each was fined £300 with £100 costs.
Councillor Graham Lawman, chairman of Wellingborough Council's development committee said: "This building is in a particularly bad state and we've been concerned about it for a number of years. It's always a last resort to issue official notices and take people to court, but every other avenue had been explored and the building was an eyesore so we had to act. We're working hard to enhance and improve our historic town centre and it's a real shame when buildings ruin that by becoming so dilapidated through lack of maintenance. We would ideally like to see this building brought back into use."
Cllr Lawman added: "We want a number of repairs to be carried out to the outside of the building, and we would expect to see the scaffolding go up by the beginning of April. We will be watching and if work doesn't start we will issue instructions for the owners to be taken back to court."