‘Ongoing saga’ of the Big Bar’s future use

Picture: Michael Gillen
Picture: Michael Gillen

The future of an eyesore building in the heart of a community appears to be no nearer a solution.

The Big Bar at Bainsford Cross has lain derelict for years.

A major blaze had ravaged the building in 2005 and since then it has been allowed to become dilapidated as tenants in flats and ground floor commercial properties moved out.

At the weekend recently elected Labour councillor Robert Bissett was contacted by concerned residents after a pane of glass had fallen from the building on to a pavement.

He passed the information on to Falkirk Council’s emergency team who are now dealing with the matter.

Windows will either be removed or boarded up.

Councillor Bissett said: “I am trying to move the issue of the Big Bar forward as it is one of the most raised concerns in the area.”

The building is privately owned and previously, the original 12 owners of the flats ignored attempts to share the cost of roof repairs – estimated at £140,000, which saw the property being left to rot and a community with a blot on its landscape.

There have been calls for Falkirk Council to use a Compulsory Purchase Order to allow the building to be demolished, however, the local authority is concerned that a lack of car parking in the area would affect any future use of the site.

Last December, the council was forced to carry out emergency overnight work on the brickwork after a structural engineer warned there was a danger some could fall off.

Loose stones which posed a threat were removed in a four-hour process.

However, the ongoing issue of the building, which is at the corner of Main Street and David’s Loan, continues to cause concerns over safety and its lack of visual amenity.

Mr Bissett said: “It’s been a saga and I will continue to push until something is done about it. Hopefully the action taken today will secure the building until a decision is taken.”

A spokesperson for Falkirk Council said: “The responsibility for the upkeep of the building lies entirely with the owners. We have had discussions with them on several occasions reminding them of their obligations to keep the building safe. The Council can only act when the building becomes unsafe for the public and will carry out work and recharge the owners.

“As a result of a recent concern we have visited the property, removed a pane of glass and carried out other remedial work we identified while on site.

“We are continuing to monitor the building with inspections and we are looking at longer term options with a structural engineer.”