‘Danger building’ in Burnley must be made safe, court order

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The owner of a potentially dangerous building in Burnley has been ordered to make it safe, following a court case.

Pennine Lancashire Building Control officers, acting on behalf of Burnley Council, went to Reedley Magistrates’ Court to successfully seek an order, under the Building Act 1984, against Thomas Cunningham.

The order is to ensure his premises, 10a Briercliffe Road, previously known as Burnley Secondhand Shop, were made safe. 

The action followed serious deterioration in the condition of the property over the last two years, during which time magistrates were told Mr Cunningham did not carry out any repairs to his building or investigate its condition.

This was despite requests from the council to carry out repairs as necessary to remove any potential danger to the public.

The council also, on several occasions, carried out emergency action to remove elements of the building immediately dangerous to the public in Mr Cunningham’s absence, for which a charge has been placed on the property.

Magistrates ordered Mr Cunningham, of Briercliffe Road, to:

Allow access to the building to ascertain problems areas and what actions to be taken by March 8th, 2012.

Appoint a suitably qualified engineer or surveyor and to prepare a list of remedial work sufficient to stabilise the building within 28 days (March 8th, 2012).

Allow building control officers to inspect the premises by April 1st, 2012, to ascertain compliance.

Ensure all work to make the building safe as identified by the engineer’s report to be completed by April 8th 2012.

If Mr Cunningham fails to meet the conditions, the council is authorised to take reasonable steps to remove the danger or, alternatively, demolish the part or upper section of the building, remove any rubbish resulting from the demolition and charge the costs to him.

Peter Holt, area building surveyor for the Burnley office of Pennine Lancashire Building Control, said: “This has been a long and difficult case.

“The council has had to use its emergency power to remove dangerous elements from the building on several occasions.

“I am pleased, however, that Mr Cunningham has made a firm commitment before the magistrates to remove the potentially dangerous elements in these buildings and to continue to carry out regular maintenance and inspection of the premises in the future.

“Unfortunately, this is just one example of a growing problem where premises are allowed to fall into disuse and are left without the essential maintenance and repair by their owners.

“These premises and structures cannot be allowed to deteriorate and present a serious risk to public safety.”

Magistrates also awarded £250 costs to the council.