A derelict workingmen’s club is set to be knocked down after its owners agreed to clear the eyesore site.
Sunderland City Council has welcomed the news that the run-down building is to be demolished after long-running correspondence with a series of successive owners of the former Southwick Social Club.
It has received dozens of complaints from residents and councillors over the poor state of repair and appearance of the old bar, which stands on the corner of Church Bank and Sunderland Road.
The council first issued an enforcement notice in December last year.
It says it was not fully complied with and a court hearing had also been scheduled for next month.
But demolition crews are now beginning work on clearing the site.
I and many others are pleased to now hear the site is being cleared.Councillor Mel Speding
Councillor Mel Speding, the council’s cabinet secretary, said: “The city council regularly receives complaints from concerned members of the public about properties that are not being maintained by their owners.
“The council has powers to see that owners repair buildings which have fallen into serious disrepair. In the last year the council has contacted numerous property owners in Sunderland about maintenance and upkeep.
“Neglected properties, as well as being eyesores, do not help our neighbourhoods and communities, they can be dangerous for public safety, and also attract crime and anti-social behaviour. Properties that become blights on our neighbourhoods are not welcome.
“Southwick councillors and members of the public have long had concerns over the former social club.
“While the council owns the freehold of the land, several leaseholders of the building have simply not looked after the building.
“The building has been allowed to decay as its drain pipes are missing, its woodwork and paintwork is also missing or has decayed, its windows are either broken or boarded up, there has been a build-up of rubbish and debris, and weeds are growing on its forecourt.
“I and many others are pleased to now hear the site is being cleared.”
Where informal approaches fail to have the desired effect, the council has powers under the Town and Country Planning Act requiring owners to repair properties, which adversely affect the amenities of the area.
These powers are directed towards buildings in prominent locations, which have fallen into an advanced state of disrepair, ensuring that the council’s resources are directed where they are most needed to maximise the benefits to its communities.
Southwick Councillor Norma Wright said: “This has been a real blot on Southwick’s landscape for too long.
“It’s in a prominent position close to the church and a new look for this site has been a priority for a long time.
“The demolition news is welcomed by all my Southwick councillor colleagues and, I am sure, the many residents who have seen the building fall into disrepair over recent years.
“We look forward to seeing the site getting a new lease of life.”