NEWBY DRIVE BUILDING: Neighbour says it’s an ‘accident waiting to happen’
People living near an abandoned care home have called for the building to be secured after a series of fires and fly-tipping at the property in Huyton.
The building on Newby Drive has been empty for a decade after the care home that used to occupy the site closed in around 2011.
Since then, it has been sold off to a private owner but nothing has been done with the building, leaving it to become what one neighbour described as “a nuisance” and “a pain in the backside” while Knowsley Council has had to step in to clear the site of rubbish.
The neighbour, who did not want to be identified, said: “There’s constantly kids in there, and it’s been on fire three or four times at least.
“It’s a breeding ground for rats and I went round the other day, I think there were about four mattresses, three sofas and a fridge dumped there.”
Pictures from the past week show a significant amount of fly-tipping at the building, including household furniture, building waste and part of a tree.
The neighbour was also concerned that the building was unsafe, and could pose a danger to any kids breaking in.
She said: “It’s an accident waiting to happen, with any kids as well. Someone’s going to get badly injured or there’s going to be a fatality in there.”
It is believed that the building, which was purchased in 2014, is subject to an overage clause that would see the previous owners receive a cut of any profit made from redeveloping the site. The neighbour feared this meant the new owners would do nothing with the building until 2024.
Local Green Party activist John Carine added: “Residents have had to deal with this ongoing issue for many years now and have been in touch with the relevant agencies.
“Many feel this issue can be resolved easily if things are put in place to secure the property properly, like high fencing or hoardings.
“They have had to deal with anti-social behaviour, arson and fly-tipping and this may happen for years to come before the property is developed.”
Mr Carine is standing as a Green Party candidate in Page Moss ward at the local elections on May 6. Other candidates standing in the area are Ken McGlashan (Labour) and Ken Wilson (Conservative).
A spokesperson for Knowsley Council said previous enforcement notices requiring the site to be cleared had been complied with, but one issued earlier this year had been ignored.
The spokesperson said: “The Council is aware of this vacant property in Newby Drive which is privately owned and we have contacted the owner on numerous occasions to remind them of their responsibilities.
“We previously served notices on the owner, in both 2018 and 2019, to clear the land and these were complied with at that time.
“Unfortunately however a further notice, issued in February this year, has not been complied with and we are stepping in to arrange for the land to be cleared. The cost of doing so will then be recovered from the landowner.
“It is always preferable if a landowner recognises their responsibilities to keep land and buildings tidy, thereby avoiding the Council having to resort to its formal legal powers.
“In this case, alongside using our formal powers to deal with the immediate problem for local residents, we will support the owner in considering a new use for the land, which is the best way of avoiding future anti-social problems.”
Words: Chris McKeon, Local Democracy Reporter
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