Doncaster Council facing court action

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DONCASTER Council could face legal action over allegations it has failed to preserve one of the borough’s conservation areas.

Coun Martin Williams has started the ball rolling in an effort to take the council to the High Court because of the state of disrepair of some of the oldest buildings in the Thorne market area conservation zone.

He says the former market chip shop, and the former Hursts ironmongers, have both been allowed to fall into disrepair.

And a former police station there has now got no roof, he says.

Coun Williams says he has been calling for action to sort out the state of the conservation area in his ward for nearly 10 years.

He said: “I have briefed my lawyers to send what is called a pre-action protocol letter, to apply for judicial review in the High Court.

“The basis is what I see as a neglect of duty in preserving the buildings in the conservation area in the centre of Thorne. It has a duty to conserve those buildings.

“I think it is time the courts decided if the council has done its duty regarding the centre of Thorne.

“I don’t know of any other market town that has suffered the way Thorne has.

“How can we regenerate a market town if the council has no will to get anything done?

“The old chippie and ironmongers have 17th century fireplaces and staircases - at least they did have. I fear there is not going to be much left now.”

Peter Dale, director of regeneration and environment at Doncaster Council, defended its record over the Thorne conservation area.

He said many of the properties in Thorne had been granted planning permissions for alternative uses, but poor economic conditions had meant developers were holding back.

He said: “We are actively seeking funding for the conservation area and are working with property owners to find alternative uses for vacant buildings.

“Our enforcement team have also recently identified seven properties which have fallen into a bad state of disrepair.

“We will be writing to the owners asking them to make repairs, and should they fail to we will use section 215 notices compelling them to do so.

“Thorne Hall remains available for sale and will be up for auction again in the near future.

“Any developer will need to be sympathetic to its Grade II listing.”