Owners of former council offices told: Clean them up!

JPCT 130312 Park North, Hosham District Council office. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-140503-164536001
JPCT 130312 Park North, Hosham District Council office. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-140503-164536001
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Owners of a town centre office block - once the headquarters of Horsham District Council - have now been ordered by the council to clean it up.

The empty office block - Park North and North Point near the Capitol Theatre - is earmarked for conversion into flats but currently has litter, weeds and overgrown plants spilling out onto the pavement in front of it.

Park North was formerly owned by Horsham District Council but was sold to developers when the council moved into shared offices with West Sussex County Council in Chart Way.

Now Horsham Council says it has received ‘numerous complaints’ about the state of its old home and has served a Section 215 enforcement notice on its new owners ‘in order to ensure that the environment surrounding the offices is cleaned up.’

A council spokeswoman said: “Council officers were concerned about the state of the site and had also received numerous complaints due to the negative impact it was having on the environment in such a prominent location. There were also safety concerns due to the overgrowth beginning to spill onto the pavement.

“The Section 215 notice of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 provides the council with the power, where appropriate, to take steps requiring land to be cleaned up when its condition adversely affects the environment of an area.

“Current site owners were notified of the requirement to carry out works to prevent enforcement action by way of a 215 notice by the end of October 2016. As no works were carried out, the enforcement notice was served.”

Cabinet member for planning and development Claire Vickers said: “It is regrettable that we are having to take this action against the current owners of these buildings, but it is not at all acceptable that this site has been allowed to decline in this way.

“We very much hope that as a result of this Section 215 notice, the owners will swiftly take responsibility to adequately clean up this area in such a prominent location in our town.

“As a council we would always look to uphold the highest standards of public realm environments for our residents and visitors to the town.”

The notice becomes effective on December 29 and has a 28 day compliance period up until January 26.

All the works listed in the notice are required to be carried out before this date, otherwise a criminal offence will be committed.

The works required include cutting back the overgrown vegetation, hedges and trees, cutting the grass, clearing the land of rubbish, repairing/replacing or removing the sign at the front of Park North and then removing all materials resulting from the associated works.