Building owner fined over town centre property

Published: Thursday, 26th July 2018

The owner of a building in a town centre conservation area has been ordered to pay more than £1,700 for failing to make improvements to the appearance of the property.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council took legal action against Mahmood Anwar Yaqub after receiving complaints from the public about the condition of the former Central Hotel, on Queen Street, Burslem.

The council issued a Section 215 notice against the building’s previous owner in January 2017 which required improvements to be made to the roof, chimney, parapet copings and brickwork. The notice required the work to be carried out by August 2017, however, the property was sold before then.

Officers sent a letter to new owner Mr Yaqub, of Pinewood Drive, Nelson, Lancashire, to advise him a Section 215 notice remained outstanding on the property, and gave a six-month extension until January 14 for the work to be carried out. The council wrote to him again in November 2017 to remind him the deadline to comply with the notice was approaching, however,  an inspection of the property on January 24 revealed no work had been carried out. The council wrote to Mr Yaqub to confirm legal action would now be taken for non-compliance of the notice.

At North Staffordshire Justice Centre on July 16, Mr Yaqub pleaded guilty and was fined £900, with costs of £800 and a victim surcharge of £90. Following the conviction, the council will now consider its next steps to try and secure improvements to the property, a prominent three-storey building that sits near to two listed buildings – the Wedgwood Institute and Burslem School of Art.

Cllr Anthony Munday, cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure, said: “This building sits in the heart of Burslem town centre, in a conservation area and near to two of the city’s most architecturally significant buildings. We were receiving complaints and concerns from the public about the building and given its prominent location in the town, we agreed it was having a negative impact on the surrounding area.

“It’s not right that buildings in private ownership should be allowed to deteriorate to the point where they are impacting on the wider area and we are not afraid to take action against landlords, as this case and previous ones have shown. We want all our town centres to be attractive places where people want to visit, spend time and invest in. The building’s owner, and its predecessor, had 12 months to do something about the situation and make the necessary improvements to the building, but no work was carried out and we had no correspondence until we had no other option than to take legal action.

“We are continuing to monitor the site and will also continue to negotiate with the land owner to try and secure the necessary improvements to the building. Legal action is the option of last resort, however, we won’t rule it out if the situation does not improve.”

For all media enquiries please contact  the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232987.