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The scandal of empty houses

December 12, 2018 7:08 PM
By Peter Dobbs

This derelict eyesore, vandalised and partially burnt out was once a hospital in the attractive market town of Ashbourne in Derbyshire. Known then as the Ashbourne Victoria Memorial Cottage Hospital, it opened its doors in 1897 and was an imposing building on Buxton Rd., Ashbourne, next to St John's church. An Ashbourne landmark, there were even postcards issued as illustrated here; After closing in 1962 it was sold and eventually ended up in the hands of a landlord who let it out as flats, calling it Victoria Court Flats. Unfortunately this landlord, like many others, has failed to maintain the property, instead allowing it to become unfit to live in. Some have ventured inside to show just how grim it has become - see here for photos of the inside.

The empty building has attractied a range of undesirable activity from those who have broken in, and wasted the time of both the local Fire Authority and Environmental Health officers in trying to secure the site.

Why is it that local authorities are so toothless in dealing with those who allow their properies to be a blight on our towns and cities? Local Lib Dems hope that the Conservative controlled District Council will rigorously enforce the increased council tax to be levied on properies left empty for more than a year. It seems madness that in a town so short of land for construction that it has built on greenfield sites, allows potential sites for affordable accommodation to become a blot on the landscape.

Victoria Court Flats derelict