Anchor’s away - legal action looms over Dewsbury grot-spot hit list

NEXT TARGET: Kirklees Council has begun to draw up papers for a compulsory purchase order for The Old Anchor in Mill Street West, Dewsbury.
NEXT TARGET: Kirklees Council has begun to draw up papers for a compulsory purchase order for The Old Anchor in Mill Street West, Dewsbury.
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THE owner of one of Dewsbury’s eyesore buildings has been told it must be demolished.

The Old Anchor pub is one of 11 properties on a hit list of shabby sites where Dewsbury Regeneration Board wants to see major improvements.

END OF THE ROAD: The owners of The Old Anchor have been told they must demolish the derelict former pub.

END OF THE ROAD: The owners of The Old Anchor have been told they must demolish the derelict former pub.

This week, the council issued a legal notice ordering the Anchor’s owner to demolish the building in Mill Street West and clear the site after talks stalled.

“I am losing patience with landowners who think it is acceptable to allow buildings to deteriorate, especially when these are on important gateway routes into the centre,” said Regeneration Board chairman Coun Paul Kane.

“Despite our best attempts to open up conversations with him about the state of the building, the owner of The Old Anchor pub has only recently begun talking to us about what he intends to do, and to date has failed to take any action to rectify what has become such an eyesore.”

But other owners have been more responsive to the regeneration board’s building enforcement initiative and what it hopes to achieve.

Stanbury Buildings in Bradford Road was one of the sites on the list – but renovation of the property is now under way.

Recently, owner Ray Murray began work on the two-storey section of the building by replacing the roof and fitting new windows.

“Dewsbury’s getting to a stage where it wants a kick up the bum and I want to try and do my best to help,” he said.

Mr Murray bought the building in the 1980s as a base for his building and roofing business, although other tenants included a doctors’ surgery, a hairdresser and an advertising company.

Around seven years ago, he decided not to renew his tenants’ leases because he wanted to refurbish the building.

But with so much work coming in for his firm, the project was put back and the empty property soon became a magnet for vandals and thieves.

Mr Murray said: “Before Christmas I thought we’ve got to do it some time so I decided we’d get down to the site between our other work. We’re only a small firm so we’ve got to do it within out budget and capabilities.

“We’re working on it in five phases but it will all definitely be up and running again one day.”

The first phase will see the two-storey section of the building turned into office space with disabled access.

Since meeting with the council, Mr Murray has also learned that he could be eligible for a shopfront improvement grant.

Coun Kane (Lab, Dews East) said he hoped the examples of the Anchor and Stanbury Buildings would be a lesson to other owners.

He said: “If you own property in Dewsbury, take responsibility for its maintenance and appearance or you too risk legal action.”

If the Anchor’s owner does not demolish the building and clear the site, he faces criminal proceedings.

The council would carry out the work itself using £750,000 set aside for its enforcement initiative and use planning powers to reclaim the money later.

However, the Anchor owner has until Friday February 18 to appeal against the notice through the courts.