Eyesore in danger of being demolished

The Big Bar building in Bainsford has been a blot on the landscape since it was ravaged by fire. Picture: Michael Gillen
The Big Bar building in Bainsford has been a blot on the landscape since it was ravaged by fire. Picture: Michael Gillen

A dilapidated eyesore on a busy Falkirk street could be demolished if owners don’t carry out repairs for the safety of the public.

Owners of properties in the Big Bar building at the corner of David’s Loan and Main Street, Bainsford, have been served with a dangerous building notice from Falkirk Council.

It has lain empty for seven years after a fire destroyed the top floor flats in 2005 which left the building in a serious state of disrepair.

The issue has been the majority of the flats’ 12 owners who have ignored attempts to share the cost of roof repairs, estimated at £140,000, which has led to no work being done and the property left to rot – a stalemate which has been a concern in the community over the past decade.

A council spokesperson said: “We have been monitoring this building for some years and inspections have been carried out at various stages.

“The property owners have had the opportunity, over many years, to carry out the necessary repair works to the fire-damaged building to bring it up to a reasonable standard of repair. We have had ongoing discussions with the various owners.

“Just before Christmas, we received advice about the degree of internal deterioration and took emergency action to remove some loose stonework.

“However, the deterioration is now more general which has resulted in a Dangerous Building Notice being served in the interests of public safety.”

The notice has given the owners the option of either doing the repairs or demolishing as appropriate and they have until February 8 to respond. If the notice is not adhered to the council could take action as failure to comply is an offence.

One of the owners, Vernon Hughes, is appealing the notice and claims he and another owner spent around £40,000 on roof repairs, but the contractor failed to complete the work, ending in a court case.

He also claims any contact he has tried to make with the council has been ignored. Mr Hughes, who now lives abroad, said: “I am constantly kept in the dark, despite many attempts by email to Falkirk Council.

“I have invested heavily in repairing this building with no help from other owners except one. My efforts to progress any improvements on the building have not only been made difficult by the builder, but also no co-operation from building services.

“All my communication with the department is ignored and unanswered so I am appealing against the findings of this notice.”

The council says there is an ongoing dialogue with Mr Hughes who they have advised to seek independent legal advice. His complaint is being considered under the council’s complaints procedure.

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn said: “I have consistently over the last ten years made representation of behalf of the wider community regards the condition of the building. Sadly there has been little progress which brings us to where we are today.”

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