‘Gateway’ building is an eyesore say residents

Action call: Mrs Valerie Fallows and Mrs Hazel  Wilkinson pictured outside the former Bull and Butcher pub.
Action call: Mrs Valerie Fallows and Mrs Hazel Wilkinson pictured outside the former Bull and Butcher pub.
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An iconic building labelled as a “Gateway to Burnley’’ has become a derelict eyesore.

That is the claim of residents who live just yards away from the former Bull and Butcher pub in Manchester Road which was trading as the Ashoka Indian Restaurant before it closed down almost four years ago.

Rossendale Avenue resident Mrs Hazel Wilkinson said: “Local historians have claimed this is a building of beauty but it has fast become an eyesore.

“It has been vandalised and set on fire a number of times and all the fixtures and fittings have been stripped out by looters.’’

Mrs Wilkinson, who moved to Rossendale Avenue with her husband Eric when the homes were first built 20 years ago, said she was disappointed last year when planning permission was turned down for a scheme to turn the pub into an Italian restaurant and build 10 houses on adjacent land.

She added: “We thought this was a brilliant idea as you hear on the news every day there are not enough homes in Burnley. I would like someone from Burnley Council’s planning department to come and have a look at the state of this building and see it from our perspective.’’

Neighbour Mrs Valerie Fallows, who also moved to the Rossendale Avenue housing development with her husband Nigel when the homes were newly built, said she had written to the owners of the building, believed to be a Preston based property company, pointing out their grievances.

Mrs Fallows said: “The building is now attracting a lot of undesirables, teenage gangs drinking alcohol and people taking drugs.

“When I tell people where I live they always say, oh isn’t that pub a mess there now? We would just like to see something done with the building.’’

The Italian restaurant plan was turned down by Burnley Council’s development control committee on the grounds that the homes would be built on greenbelt land and also highways issues relating to access. Planners also said that there was no guarantee that residents in the new homes and those living in Rossendale Avenue and Buttercross Close would be protected from noise and fumes from the restaurant.

But Mrs Fallows said she believed that the homes in Rossendale Avenue and Buttercross Close were built on greenbelt land back in the 1980s.

A spokesman for Burnley Council said that no-one wanted to see an empty building that was going into decline but as the property is privately owned there was very little the local authority could do.