'Sort out this giant pigeon loft'

March 27 2019

THE owner of an eyesore building in Kingswood which had been left to decay so badly it became a refuge to hundreds of pigeons has been told to clean up his act.


The old pharmacy building on the corner of High Street and Park Road has gone to rack and ruin despite its owner getting planning permission to turn it four homes, two flats and a shop back in 2016.
Since then the building has “deteriorated significantly” according to South Gloucestershire Council which has taken action against the owner, Harminder Chana.
It was in such a bad state of disrepair that birds were able to fly in and out, using it as a giant pigeon loft.
Although the windows have recently been closed, there is no obvious sign of work being carried out to improve the appearance of the building.
On January 9, South Gloucestershire Council issued a Section 215 notice on Mr Chana, saying he needed to carry out a series of jobs to ensure the appearance of the building improved.
This included repairing the stonework and rendering, replacing fascia boards, guttering and downpipes and repairing any damaged doors and shutters.
Mr Chana has until April 9 to carry out the work. Failure to comply with the notice could lead to a prosecution.
Residents have discussed the state of the building on social media. One person called for it to be demolished,  saying it must be a health hazard due to the amount of bird droppings in there.
“The inside must be crawling with germs and rats,” he added.
A council spokesman said: “We are engaged in two related projects focused on Kingswood Town Centre, and one of the primary challenges for these projects to address is untidy and vacant buildings. The former pharmacy is recognised as one of the most prominent examples of this challenge and officers across a number of council teams are working together to target the best resources at this issue.
“Despite being granted planning permission for redevelopment, the site has remained vacant and has deteriorated significantly since this permission was given.
“Formal enforcement action has now been taken by our Planning Enforcement and Environmental Health teams and, pending compliance with the relevant notices, further action will be considered to ensure that the issues are addressed.
“The Love our High Streets project is proposing to invest £3m in Kingswood and the council has recently engaged residents and community groups in a consultation exercise about local challenges and priorities. The issue of untidy and vacant premises has not surprisingly been raised throughout this and seeking a resolution to the threat of longstanding and prominent vacant property will be a priority for the next phase of the project.”