Knowsley Council has successfully prosecuted the owner of a vacant building that was both an eyesore in the local community and the target of anti-social behaviour. In the absence of action by the building’s owner, Knowsley Council has also acted directly to demolish the building and improve the area for local people.
The property, on Carls Way in Kirkby, is owned by Mr Michael Collins of Southport. Mr Collins did not carry out any maintenance or upkeep of this highly visible building, despite repeated contact from Knowsley Council to encourage him to do so, which resulted in the building falling into a state of disrepair.
In view of the continuing harmful impact on the area and the repeated incidents of anti-social behaviour, Knowsley Council was left with no option but to use its legal powers in order to insist that action was taken by Mr Collins – this being to improve the appearance of his building or demolish it. Regretfully, Mr Collins failed to comply with the notice Knowsley Council served on him, which clearly explained the work he needed to do. As a result of Mr Collins’ inaction, the council then proceeded with court action.
At Liverpool Magistrate’s Court on 9 March 2018, Mr Collins failed to appear at court and he was found guilty in his absence. He has been ordered to pay £734 in total (payable within 28 days) – £440 fine, £44 Victim Surcharge and investigation / prosecution costs of £250.
In order to remove the eyesore which the building represented and in order to prevent continuing anti-social behaviour, Knowsley Council employed expert contractors to demolish the building and this work has now been completed. The site has also been grassed so that it is in keeping with the local area and the council is currently pursuing the recovery of the demolition costs incurred from the land owner.
Cllr Andy Moorhead, Leader of Knowsley Council said: “I am delighted with this outcome, which sends a clear message that we will take enforcement action against people whose actions are having a detrimental effect on our communities. Due to the state of the building, it attracted a lot of anti-social behaviour and groups congregating which was having a negative impact on the local area and for our residents living there. For this reason, we stepped in and took the necessary action and we will now be recovering the costs for this work from Mr Collins.”