Plan for ‘deathtrap’ building

NILA 10-10-12 BE 8 Taking down the secure boarding from the old walter scott and ross solicitors building.
NILA 10-10-12 BE 8 Taking down the secure boarding from the old walter scott and ross solicitors building.

A derelict former solicitors’ building, labelled a ‘deathtrap’ by neighbours and the fire service, is finally set to be turned into flats in Ilkeston after a long-running campaign by the ‘Tiser.

Walter, Scott and Ross, in St Mary’s Street, closed after an investigation found serious financial irregularities there back in 2009.

Sold sign up at Walter, Scott and Ross in St Mary's Street

Sold sign up at Walter, Scott and Ross in St Mary's Street

Since then the building has caused neighbours endless trouble after burglars continually broke in, stripped it of lead and wires and left the building as a potential fire risk.

It had become popular with squatters, windows were smashed and roof tiles had been seen dropping off into the road and damaging parked cars. The building went up for sale in February this year and has been sold in the last few weeks.

Now, thanks to a change in planning law, the buyer – who wishes to remain anonymous – will be starting work within the next two months on the development, which could house nine or more flats.

On behalf of the buyer, Stanton-by-Dale-based building consultant Paul Gaughan said: “It’s a nice area so these are going to be nice flats.

“It’s going to be a high-quality development.”

He explained that due to changes in legislation, certain office buildings no longer require planning permission to be turned into flats, making the process much faster and less expensive.

Neighbour Kelly Holmes told us on Twitter that she was pleased about the plan but still had some concerns, particularly about parking.

“It’s great something’s finally happening,” she said.

“The building is just a mess. It will be interesting to see the plans.”

We revealed in January 2012 that clients’ confidential files were still in the derelict building, nearly three years after the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) was meant to have cleared them out and stored them safely away.

After pressure from the ‘Tiser, the SRA finally admitted they had failed to clear it out in March that year and cleared out the building for a second time.

A campaign was also launched for the eyesore building to be tackled.