‘Sort it or else’- owner of historic Dunstable eyesore told to make dramatic improvements

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The owner of a listed building that has become a local eyesore has been ordered to renovate it.

Central Bedfordshire Council told the owner of number 4, High Street South in Dunstable, which is the site of the former PizzaRoma store, that they must repair the building within months.

The listed building dates back to the 1600s and is in the Dunstable Conservation Area, but it has become derelict and dilapidated.

Councillor Kevin Collins, Executive Member for Planning and Regeneration at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “Our officers have tried to persuade the owner to carry out the much-needed repairs, but they have failed to do so. The building’s poor condition is affecting it as a historically-important building, as well as impacting on the appearance of the surrounding area.

“An enforcement notice has therefore been served. This requires the owner to carry out a list of 19 things to improve the condition of the building, including painting it, filling in cracks in the building and repairing rotten woodwork. Our actions will help preserve this important and prominent listed building for the future, and ensure that its visual appearance is not a blight on the neighbourhood.

“This case shows that we will use formal legal powers when necessary to ensure that the owners of buildings take responsibility for their property and keep them in good condition for the community.

“We stepped in because it’s important that the town is kept presentable to ensure that people to want to visit or live here, and for businesses to want to be located here. That’s why last year we gave £125,599 worth of grants to independent shops and businesses in the town, as part of our area-wide £1million High Street Improvement Scheme.”

The 17th century building is one of 13 Grade II listed properties in High Street South. On the Britiosh Listed Buildings website it is described as ‘Colour-washed plaster. White woodwork. Old tile roof with gable end to street. 2 storeys and attics. Ground floor C19 shop, 1st floor 2-light sash.’

The owner has to make some of the repairs within one month, with up to four months to do the more major renovations.

The owner is based in the West Midlands. It is a criminal offence to fail to comply with the requirements of the notice.