Council plans to take ‘robust measures’ to get its money back

Robust measures will be used against the owners of the Battle Road arches in a bid to recover the £300,000 that Hastings Borough Council (HBC) has earmarked to spend on their demolition.

Work began in May to demolish what had been classified as a dangerous structure. On Friday HBC told Hastings In Focus: “The demolition works of the Battle Road arches (numbers two – 12 Battle Road) have been ongoing for some time and we apologise for any inconvenience.

“In order to safely remove the structure a number of health and safety issues needed to be confirmed and resolved. Work has now begun to remove all utilities and false walls, floors and suspended ceilings and asbestos surveys have been carried out. The removal of the structure will begin shortly. 

To safely remove the structure a number of health and safety issues needed to be confirmed and resolved, the council says.

“The council is working closely with East Sussex Highways. Control of the site will be handed back to them as soon as possible so the safety wall can be removed and the road can return to the normal two-way operation.

According to the land registry the owners of the property are Elsie Goldsmith, Vaughan Wheatley and Simon Leeves all with addresses in St Leonards. HBC says it plans to take robust measures to recover the monies it has had to spend.

“The contract sum is for the demolition of the commercial units and an approved budget was set earlier in the year to enable the structure to be removed. HBC’s legal team will be taking robust measures against the owners for the repayment of the cost of the demolition works,” a spokesman said.

In June last year when the council’s cabinet agreed to proceed with the works £300,000 was earmarked from the council’s general reserve.

E.A.R. Sheppard Consulting Civil and Structural Engineers were appointed to assess the structural stability of the property. The engineers identified that the structure was not in danger of imminent collapse but collapse could not be ruled out and therefore the building remained a risk.

5 thoughts on “Council plans to take ‘robust measures’ to get its money back

  1. “robust action” – this will be a first. I can only assume that the owners of the arches are not large interests with access to good lawyers? HBC has manifestly failed to take any action against caravan sites who breach caravan site licence rules and developers who breach planning regulations and permissions. HBC seem only capable of taking action against small interests such as the “Eiffel tower” builder. If you are a larger developer you can rest easy as HBC will not take any action.

  2. I have to agree with Mr Hurrell there about the “Robust Action.” Where was HBC over the years of deterioration of this site? It had been falling into disrepair for ages. There should have been a Section 215 enforcement order to sort it out long ago. And where were they when the collapse of land happened at the Undercliff building site in St Leonards. There the developer just walked away.
    As pointed out there is a propensity to go after the small and easy issues.

  3. The two comments above are valid points, but the land they stand on must have a value? So is it possible to composary purchase and deduct the cost of demolition? And any balance to owners, that way the land would become the councils. Could unit’s be built for sale or rent?

  4. The Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) is a feasible course as mentioned. However, if this trio who are the registered owners cannot pay the bill to sort this property there is an alternative.
    HBC goes to the High Court for possession through the unpaid debt.
    The CPO course of action or even an Enforcement Order could have been done a decade ago. This site has been long deteriorating. If it had been downtown or near the seafront things would have been acted on more rapdily.

  5. Do the local residence have a completion date as yet for the demolition of the Battle Road Arches. In order that life can get back to some sort of normal for those living on the diverted routes . According to ESCC the road would be open on the 528th August then the 5th September today is the 6th and still no sign of being opened

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