Crackdown on eyesores

Fire at Brentwood, Wigan Lane
Fire at Brentwood, Wigan Lane

ABSENTEE Wigan landlords who allow property to become an eyesore face stiff punishment.

Council chiefs are determined to clear up privately-owned grot spots and plans for new get-tough legislation could see those prosecuted facing a fine of up to £1,000 and continuing costs of up to £100 for every extra day they ignore the improvement notice.

Town hall bosses say that semi-derelict homes and commercial buildings which are apparently being left until the development market improves must be in a secure and tidy condition. Eyesore empty buildings, they believe, can help put off investment.

The council expects most landlords to take swift action when they realise the financial consequences of not complying. But for those responsible for the small number of cases where the notice is apparently ignored, council lawyers will take them to court, resulting in a fine with additional fines for each day of non-compliance.

In extreme cases – or where the owners is apparently not prepared to co-operate – the council could then apply to carry out the improvements itself and place a charge on the property which will have to be repaid if it is ever sold.

Neighbours in an area up to 350m from the property will have the right to make a complaint about its condition. But council officers stress that the character of each logicality will be take into account and each are considered individually. Landlords will receive a warning letter which will give them time to respond.

Corporate director Gillian Bishop said: “Untidy and derelict land and buildings can have a serious impact on a community and the immediate neighbours. They can also have a detrimental impact on the image of the area and lead to problems such as difficulties in attracting new investment.

“In most parts of the borough, land and buildings are properly maintained, but a small minority of sites have caused difficulties within the community and Wigan Council is commited to improving the borough’s appearance and image, not only for residents, but those who visit and invest in the area.

“The council will choose the relevant legislation to remedy the situation after discussing the problem with the owner and giving appropriate advice. If the owner fails to act on the advice given and the property continues to cause a problem, the council will consider appropriate action to ensure that the property is improved.”

She added that it may also prove necessary to demolish buildings if they are inspected and declared to be danagerous.