Fenland District Council to go ahead with prosecution of Constantine House owners

PUBLISHED: 10:46 13 November 2015 | UPDATED: 10:46 13 November 2015

The owners of Constantine House, Nene Quay, are to be prosecuted by Fenland District Council. Photo: Steve Williams

The owners of Constantine House, Nene Quay, are to be prosecuted by Fenland District Council. Photo: Steve Williams

S Williams

Fenland District Council is pressing ahead with its prosecution of the owners of Constantine House in Wisbech after they failed to repair the building which has been derelict for more than five years.

Fenland District Council is pressing ahead with its prosecution of the owners of Constantine House in Wisbech after they failed to repair the building which has been derelict for more than five years.

They have been summonsed to appear at King’s Lynn Magistrates Court on December 2 after failing to comply with a Section 215 Notice requiring them to complete the necessary remedial works on the building by October 26.

Councillor David Oliver, the Cabinet member responsible for dilapidated buildings and enforcement, announced the decision to prosecute at a full Council meeting yesterday afternoon.

He said: “As Members were informed last week, the owners of Constantine House in Wisbech have not complied with the Section 215 Notice requiring them to complete the necessary works by Monday, October 26, and they did not exercise their right to appeal the notice.

“Our legal team has subsequently reviewed the situation and I can now tell you that we are pressing ahead with a prosecution.

“A summons was sent to the owners on Tuesday this week [November 3], requiring them to attend court. The date for the first hearing has been set for Wednesday, December 2, at 10am at King’s Lynn Magistrates Court.

“We all recognise the significance of this building, which is in a key position in the town. It is important to remember that it is privately owned and that the full responsibility for the repairs rests with the owners.

“Over a long period we have done our utmost to work with the owners, as we do with all dilapidated buildings. All our efforts have been directed at finding the best and most effective way to get the required repairs completed.

“Despite an immense amount of hard work by council officers, we have not yet been able to get the owners to finish the essential works.

“We will now have to wait for the legal process to take its course. However, we continue to hope that the owners will comply with the requirements of the Notice.”

The decision to prosecute follows a lengthy battle with the house’s owners, who failed to complete restoration work after the building was left derelict after a fire in March 2010.

Earlier this year work began on Constantine House, in Nene Quay, which was formerly known as The Belfast building, but suddenly stopped.

Deadline for completion of the work was originally for March, but the owner was granted an extension until the end of June.

Work came to a halt on the site before Easter, with a council spokesman saying that 75 per cent of work had been carried out before it stopped.

Since then, workers have not been seen at the site.

In August the council explained how they had worked “closely” with Constantine House owners to “realise a high quality redevelopment securing visual improvement to Wisbech”.

Legal action was considered by the council in August, with Cllr Oliver saying in July: “The council is anxious to ensure that the building is watertight and pigeon nesting prevented to stop any future damage.

“We continue to make every effort to force the owner to comply fully with the Section 215 Notice, and are now considering all the options available to us to get the necessary works completed, including potential legal action.”


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