Landmark Bainsford building to be demolished

A landmark building is to be knocked down after years of legal wrangling over its future.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 10th May 2018, 1:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th May 2018, 5:40 pm
Picture: Michael Gillen
Picture: Michael Gillen

The red sandstone property in Bainsford at the corner of David’s Loan and Main Street has been empty for some time.

It followed a serious fire in 2005 which destroyed much of the roof and, although some of retail properties still operated from the ground floor, the majority of the flats on upper levels have been empty since then.

However, attempts to trace the 23 property owners of the building – known as the Big Bar after the former pub which traded from the corner site – hit problems.

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Picture: Michael Gillen

Initially it had been hoped that the building could be repaired and brought back into use but that failed as the many owners could not be contacted.

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This week comes the news that Falkirk Council is about to put the demolition of the building out to tender and, once they have been returned, the demolition it will begin.

It is anticipated the work will take place over the summer.

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, leader of Falkirk Council, who has campaigned to rid the area of the eyesore, said she was delighted at the news.

She added: “It has been a long time coming but after years of toil and frustration we are about to see a positive end to what has blighted the Bainsford Community for more years than I care to remember.”

The building and adjacent pavement was fenced off last Friday after part of the ornamental masonry from the structure was discovered on the ground.

It also led to the closure of the pedestrian crossing at the location.

Pedestrians now have to use the pavement on the west side of Main Street and the north side of David’s Loan.

However, the road currently remains open.

Falkirk Council has been forced to act on several occasions in recent months to carry out emergency repair work to ensure the building remained safe.

Over the years, there have been several calls for the council to use a Compulsory Purchase Order to allow demolition to go ahead.

However, the local authority had been concerned that a lack of car parking in the area would affect any future use of the site.

Scottish councils can order a property to be repaired, secured or demolished if it is deemed to be causing a danger or potential danger to its occupants, the public or nearby buildings.

Owners of flats within the building have previously been unwilling to share the £130,000 repair costs needed to fix its damaged roof.

Councillor Robert Bissett, who has been a Labour member for Falkirk North since last May, also welcomed the news of work taking place.

He said: “I have pushed very hard since being elected as a result of constituents continually asking me about the Big Bar. And I did say it would be demolished this year!

“I would add my compliments to all of the council officers who have dealt with this very difficult issue from a technical, public protection and legal perspective – and to all residents for their patience and continuing patience.”

The SNP group made the demolition an election promise in their 2017 manifesto.

Mrs Meiklejohn added: “Now we have an opportunity to not only remove an eyesore but to use the opportunity to help with the regeneration of the Main Street.”

Falkirk Council said the decision to close the section of pavement was in “the best interests of public safety”, adding tendering for the demolition of the building will be undertaken as soon as possible.