AUTHORITIES in Redditch have made a bid to tackle long-standing problems associated with a derelict building.

Multiple concerns including antisocial behaviour and the risk of arson at the overgrown and dilapidated St Gregory’s Church in Winyates have led Redditch Council to issue a notice requiring it to be improved.

Chair of the North Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership and deputy chief executive of Redditch Council, Sue Hanley, said: “The empty church has become run down over a number of years and the council has received a lot of complaints. The grounds and car park have also become extremely overgrown and the site is a magnet for antisocial behaviour and other problems.

“Its present condition cannot be left to deteriorate further and Redditch Council has served a formal notice to start addressing the issue.”

Safer Neighbourhood Team officer PC Paul Downes said that the derelict churchyard had been regularly frequented by youngsters and there had been reports of drug usage, theft of metal from the roof and inside the church, and fires lit in the wooded area behind it.

He said: “A lot of good work has been carried out by the council’s locality and Winning Winyates teams to rejuvenate the Winyates Centre and having this eyesore nearby has detracted from that. As partners we have been involved in the discussions concerning the issuing of this notice and we regard it as a very positive development.

“Hopefully the outcome will be to improve the whole look of the area and lead to a reduction in reports of antisocial behaviour there.”

The Untidy Land Notice has been issued on the landowner under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. It requires vegetation to be cut back and the church buildings to be either improved or demolished, by July 23 this year.

Improvements to the buildings stipulated in the notice include replacing and painting rotten boarding, making good the roof and rainwater goods and removing plants climbing over the walls.