Fire-ravaged Sunderland bingo hall site to be bulldozed as council steps in after owners fail to complete work

A fire-ravaged former bingo hall in Sunderland is to be levelled after council chiefs stepped in.

By Ross Robertson
Monday, 18 February, 2019, 14:19

The former Savoy Bingo Club was destroyed by fire in 2017, but its owner NE30 Land Ltd have repeatedly failed to complete work on the site.

The company was taken to court by the council in 2018 for failing to comply with the council’s Section 215 Enforcement Notice to improve their site, fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of £684.

Fire as it raged at the former bingo hall site in Southwick on Friday, February 3, 2017.

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The council is now using further powers under the Town and Country Planning Act to enter the land after clearance works which started in November 2018 were not completed.Councillor Stuart Porthouse, Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration, said: "Sadly, and despite a long-running dialogue, the owners of this site have failed to comply with legal notices from the council and let down the community of Southwick."The council is very aware how important the site is to the community and of the repeated calls from the community to the clear this land and make it more attractive for appropriate development."A five-figure sum has been allocated for the contract tender and the council will look to a legal charge on the land and take civil action to recover its costs.The planned works are for clearing the site’s standing remains, levelling it completely, and putting up a two metre screen hoarding. The council may also, subject to a fuller site survey, keep or repair the brick boundary wall alongside the footpath.Councillor Kelly Chequer, who represents the area with colleagues Councillor Miles Elliott and Councillor Alex Samuels, said: "We’ve all said before that the bingo site has been an eyesore for far too long."Yes, we’re pleased, on behalf of people across our community that the council is stepping but also disappointed that the owners have not looked after the site."Thousands of people and companies across our city do take a pride in their properties and eyesores such as this do not help our communities because they can be dangerous for public safety, and they can attract crime and anti-social behaviour."Southwick councillors have received a lot of representations over the state of the site and this is why the council took its enforcement action. Now, the council is having to take further action."The council said once the tender process is completed, a works programme will be finalised as quickly as possible.

The site in June
The site in November