“Empty buildings are a blight on the town”

Charles Hall and the former newsagent shop  in Victoria Road. Picture by Andrew Higgins 115105c
Charles Hall and the former newsagent shop in Victoria Road. Picture by Andrew Higgins 115105c

A SCARBOROUGH property developer is calling for action to be taken over the number of empty decaying commercial properties in the town which he claims are a “blight”.

Charles Hall, 69, a former pub landlord who has been in the trade since he sold The Mermaid in 1998, said they should be bought under compulsory purchase orders and used to create more “affordable shops” in an effort to boost the local economy.

Charles Hall renovating new property on Victoria Road. Picture by Andrew Higgins 115105b 19/12/11

Charles Hall renovating new property on Victoria Road. Picture by Andrew Higgins 115105b 19/12/11

He said: “They’ve got the powers to serve notice on the owners if they refuse to do anything. There is a government directive on this issue. None of these properties will be paying business rates – they should slap business rates on them to wake them up.”

Mr Hall said that there were three properties – in Victoria Road, Newborough and North Street – which had been empty for up to 10 years and their condition was gradually decaying because they were not in use. He added: “They are an eyesore – it’s just wrong.”

He said that landlords who are trying to sell empty properties were asking prices which were too high for the current economic climate and did not take into account the work needed to bring them back into an acceptable condition.

“I think the owners want the finished product price but they don’t want to spend any money on the properties,” he added.

Mr Hall has raised the issue with officers at Scarborough Council and said there had been a positive reaction for his idea.

He is currently renovating a former newsagent shop in Victoria Road which had been closed since the end of 2008. He said: “Nobody wanted to take it on and do it up. We are going to rent it out – there’s a demand for little shops but they have got to be right. There’s a big call for properties in Scarborough at reasonable rates.”

Mr Hall said that if commercial properties were offered at lower rents for new businesses it could create more small businesses and boost the local economy.

At the time of going to press no one from Scarborough Council was available for comment.