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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Ulverston 'eyesore' given facelift

A BUILDING branded the “house from hell” is finally benefiting from some improvement work – but neighbours are still awaiting confirmation it will be sorted for good.

Neighbours frustrated by the condition of 27 Princes Street in Ulverston took their case to Ulverston Town Council last year after watching it deteriorate over 17 years.

Their concerns over the multiple-occupancy building and the alleged anti-social behaviour of its tenants had come to a head in late 2008 when a fire ripped through number 27, prompting neighbours on the terraced street to fear for their own homes.

South Lakeland District Council was urged to get tough with the building’s landlord and take enforcement action.

Merril Tummey, SLDC’s principal housing renewal officer, said this week: “The council has listened to residents’ complaints and has worked hard to improve the appearance of the property.

“The front has been painted, a new fence has been built at the rear of the property and the gardens have had a tidy-up.

“The owner of the property has also installed new windows.

“There is a current problem with loose rendering at the front of the property which we plan to address.

“As the property is no longer occupied, this has stopped the anti-social behaviour complaints.

“The council is currently in discussions with the owner about the future of the property, including the possibility of a sale to a housing association.”

SLDC said it was lacking in options aside from agreeing a deal to buy the property.

The council had considered compulsory purchase, but it was too costly an option.

Neighbour Madeline Morris told the council last year that her doctor had attributed her anxiety to years of worrying about the tenants and the condition of number 27.

Asked if she was happy with developments, she said: “In a way, because there isn’t anybody in it.

“But I would just like to see it turned back into a family-run home, but I can’t see that happening.

“I’d say we’re a lot more settled, but I would like to know what’s going to happen to the property at the end of the day.

“I just hope they’re not going to turn it into flats.

“We’ve had 20-odd years next to that and I couldn’t stand any more. You just don’t know what you would get in there again.”

Brian McQuillin, of number 31 Princes Street, said the situation appears to have reached a “stalemate” between SLDC and the landlord.

He added: “From the point of view of the problems with residents – which used to be an issue in terms of noise and I don’t know what else – that’s no longer an issue.

“However, the house is undermining the value of neighbours’ houses.”

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