Call for action on disused building targeted by vandals

A former community-use building has become a target for vandals, fly-tipping and fires and a Walsall councillor has now called for it to be renovated or demolished.

Councillor Paul Bott, who says something should be done about the derelict Leys Hall in Darlaston as he feels the site is a danger
Councillor Paul Bott, who says something should be done about the derelict Leys Hall in Darlaston as he feels the site is a danger

Councillor Paul Bott claims that Leys Hall at Darlaston has been left derelict for too long and now needs to be demolished or repaired.

A non-profit organisation, The Old Hall People's Partnership, took over the building about eight years ago and ran it as a furniture recycling centre for needy families.

However, the roof collapsed 12 months ago and the centre was moved to premises at Bentley, and since then Leys Hall has remained empty.

Councillor Bott said: "This building is a blot on the landscape and has become the target for vandals, fly-tipping and fires.

"It has been left derelict for too long and needs to be demolished or renovated.

"I feel the council has a responsibility to ensure this building is safe or demolished and, if not, it should move to enforcement action."

Denise Birkett, chief executive officer for the Partnership, said: "We are in the process of seeking planning permission to demolish the building.

"An application has been made to Walsall Council as we need planning permission to demolish the building.

"It was built in 1957 for the people of Darlaston to use as a meeting place or dances and activities.

"It remained empty for two years before we took it over about six to eight years ago.

"The building belongs to the charity but the roof collapsed 12 months ago and we were told it was unsafe and that we had to get out.

"I totally agree with councillor Bott that something needs doing and we have put aside £16,000 for the demolition of the building."

A spokesman for Walsall Council said: "Upon receipt of a valid planning application submitted to the Local Planning Authority we will carry out the statutory consultation with residents and key consultees and will subsequently carry out an assessment of any proposals at this site prior to reaching a decision.

"In the meantime, the Local Planning Authority will continue to liaise with the council's Building Control Team to ensure any demolition is also carried out under the correct building regulations."

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