‘Please solve our house from hell’

Residents on a quiet Fleetwood street are hopeful that a run-down bungalow blighting their neighbourhood can at last be tidied up.

Fed-up householders on Kirkstone Avenue, Larkholme, have for several years been demanding action from Wyre Council to force improvements to the detached bungalow, which has overgrown gardens and crumbling brickwork.

Now Rossall ward councillor Rita Hewitt, who has been looking into the issue since last summer, says she is confident action will be taken soon.

Coun Hewitt said the owner of the property had been given an order by Wyre Council last October, effective from November, to make the garden presentable.

And in January the council looked at estimates from three subcontractors, with a view to the one of the firms carrying out the work and billing the owner. One of those firms is now ready to start work.

The owner of the house is understood to have taken up residence at another property in Cleveleys 16 years ago, and the Larkholme house has been left abandoned ever since.

Coun Hewitt said: “There appears to be light at the end of the tunnel.

“I have been working with council officers and I am pleased with the way things have gone. I understand the council has contacted the owner about the work being done.

“It has taken a very long time and I understand why the neighbours are fed up.”

Nearby residents are encouraged by the news but say it has taken far too long.

Fenwick Dell said: “We have had various people looking into this for years but nothing has been done and it needs sorting.

“It is a total mess and a waste of what used to be a nice house - a detached home on a good street.

“The news that it might finally get sorted soon is very welcome.”

Next door neighbour Brian Preston said: “It’s a disgrace and it ruins the street. The willow tree in the neighbour’s front garden is blocking the drains and caused a flood in both our back gardens last year.”

Another neighbour, Tony Matthews, said: “It has gone on for years and we thought it would never be sorted. This could also affect the prices of our own homes.”

A Wyre Council spokeswoman said: “A statutory notice under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 which requires the property owner to take steps to remedy the condition of the land was served on October 17 with compliance required by January 17.

“We are now taking steps to have the work, including clearance of the driveway, garden and gutterings, and repair or replacement of the garage door, carried out by a private contractor and recovering the costs from the homeowner.

“Dealing with empty homes is a long and complex process. Circumstances of the owners are rarely straightforward and there are limitations on what powers the council has. Nonetheless we’re determined to stop empty properties deteriorating and having a negative impact on the local area. We want to assure the neighbours that we are doing everything in our power to resolve this issue.”

The owner of the house was unavailable for comment.