CABINET CALL: By South Holland District Council leader Gary Porter
I thought I would use this week’s column to write an update on the blighted sites campaign.
Hopefully everybody will have seen the progress made at the Bull and Monkie in Spalding (pictured above).
We served an S215 Notice on the owners and they failed to take the appropriate action.
This meant that the council were able to step in, do the work and re-bill the owners.
Through this route we have been able to tidy up the site and put in suitable fencing to secure the area from further anti-social behaviour. We also rectified a couple of serious safety defects that could have resulted in a possible fatality.
We then served a further notice to remove the graffiti.
This is a relatively new piece of legislation that we were not aware of until we were told the original notice didn’t cover this aspect.
Once the handmade gates are fitted we will be submitting a bill for all of the work to the owners and if necessary will pursue this through the courts for payment.
However, I still hope the owners come forward with immediate payment and that they talk to the council about their plans for the site’s future or its disposal. Councillors agreed at the meeting on November 19 that the next site to be cleaned up will be the old Red Cow Hotel at Donington and a reserve site, the former butcher’s shop in Bull Lane, Long Sutton, was picked.
We also agreed that the next site after these would be the subject of a poll of readers.
Our proposal was that the list of potential sites that have been selected through cross checks with our planning, environmental and legal services team will be published in the paper and readers will select the worst of these as the next target.
Our hope is that owners of the remaining sites will then understand that we are serious about this campaign and choose to do the right thing by our community, and fix the problems themselves.
This would obviously be a lot cheaper for the owners and a lot quicker for the community. We have done the right thing by tolerating some of this during the recession, but now that land and house prices are starting to recover the owners need to do the right thing by all of us.