Monday, July 09, 2012

Further concern over Queen Victoria Works

Over a long period, I have raised concerns about the dilapidated state of the former Queen Victoria Works between Brook Street and Douglas Street.    

The concerns were raised again recently by residents of Pleasance Court at a meeting I held with them.

Following this, I raised the concerns again with the City Council and the Head of Planning has advised:


"Building Standards Officers have regularly inspected this property following the receipt of numerous reports.  These inspections have confirmed that a reasonable level of site security is achieved such that no law abiding citizen could inadvertently find themselves at risk within the existing perimeter walls.

A recent inspection on 28 May 2012, following a report that the Mill was accessible to children, again indicated the site to reasonably well secured.  A loose security mesh grill was identified over a ground floor window to the building on Brook Street and dislodged lining boards were observed to a timber gate to the Lower Pleasance elevation.  Neither of these damaged/vandalised areas created a significant or immediate breach of the site perimeter security.  However, when one of my officers returned the following day to effect repairs, the loose security mesh (and others which did not necessarily require it) had been re-secured by spot welding and the timber gate had been boarded over.  It is assumed that these works had been carried out by the owner, or on the owner's behalf.

The owner has intimated that regular security checks are carried out on the premises.  

The serving of a Dangerous Building Notice may be subject to technical or legal challenges via the appeals procedure.  Any such Notice would set out a description of works to be undertaken and a timescale for completion.  In the event of an owner's default, the Council would be required to instruct the works required by the Notice and recover costs reasonably incurred.  Such costs can only be recovered where the owner has sufficient funds.  Emergency Works can be instructed without a formal Notice, but this action has to be justified, and creates the same issues in cost recovery as indicated above.

The condition of this site will continue to be kept under review."

I have responded saying:

"I am pleased that there was a recent inspection but remain concerned about the continuing decline in the condition of the site and the owner’s lack of any real action to address this other than alleged infrequent “security checks.”

I note what you write about the Dangerous Building Notice but given the long term decline of this historic mill, I feel this is a procedure the City Council should now be initiating – the alternative is simply to see the mill’s state to decline to an extent that demolition is the only answer and I convinced that the City Council has a responsibility to ensure that does not happen."

Here's two photographs I took last week that show the extent of deterioration of the mill:

The City Council's Chief Executive has agreed to my request to reconvene a working party to tackle vacant and derelict buildings in the city.   I have asked him to ensure that this group swiftly tackles issues like Queen Victoria Works and Verdant Works.  Dundee has an industrial heritage that is in danger of being lost - and the City Council has a key role in ensuring this does not happen.