Warning to historic building owners: ‘we will take action if you don’t maintain your properties’ – after double court success

Published: Wednesday, 9th November 2022

Owners of historic buildings are being warned they will face tough council action if they don’t maintain their properties, after Stoke-on-Trent City Council secured two court case successes.

The city council took court action against Diwan Property Development Ltd, which owns Falcon Works, in Sturgess Street, Stoke and Mahmood Anwar Yaqub, owner of the former Central Hotel, Burslem, after the owners failed to comply with orders to maintain the sites.

At North Staffordshire Justice Centre, the Falcon Works owners, based in London, were fined £1000, the maximum fine for a first offence, reduced by a third due to the owners’ guilty plea. The company has also been ordered to pay a further £800 in costs.

The conviction was for failing to comply with a Section 215 notice which requires:

  • Window openings to be made secure by boarding up
  • Foliage growth on the main building and bottle oven to be carefully removed
  • Repointing of brickwork on bottle ovens
  • Repointing of deteriorated joints in main building
  • Reinstatement of all missing rainwater goods

The owner of the former Central Hotel was fined £59,800 and ordered to pay full costs after previously being convicted in March 2021 for failing to carry out repairs to the shopfront, windows, roof, chimney, parapet copings and brickwork.

Cllr Abi Brown, leader of the city council, said: “These cases send a strong message to owners of heritage buildings in our city. We are serious when we say we are declaring a zero-tolerance stance on the maintenance of privately-owned heritage sites.

“Falcon Works is a Grade II listed property and the former Crown Hotel is an iconic building in a conservation area. Companies and individuals who purchase heritage assets in the city must do the right thing with them.

“We are exceptionally proud of our heritage in Stoke-on-Trent and, as these prosecutions show, we will take action, using the planning powers at our disposal, against people who purchase heritage assets and then allow them to deteriorate.”