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Owner will have to pay for Wormgate property facelift

BEFORE - the neglected property in Wormgate; AFTER - spick-and-span and proofed against the winter weather after a facelift by Boston Borough Council

A neglected property which had been the subject of court proceedings has been given a facelift by Boston Borough Council, which is now pursuing the owner to recover the £7,000 spent.

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Sarah Holmes appeared before Boston magistrates last December after failing to comply with an order to tidy the property up.

The council continued to press for the necessary work to be carried out, but completed the work in default when she failed to do so. 

Complaints were originally received by Boston Borough Council about the untidy state of the property at 35 Wormgate.

The Wormgate area forms part of a larger area that centres on the town's Market Place where Boston Borough Council, in partnership with English Heritage, are offering grants of up to 90 per cent of the cost of restoring eligible historic buildings. This property was identified as one being eligible for a grant and contact was made with the owner to try to encourage her to take up a grant to help with the refurbishment costs, but she failed to do so.

After negotiations seeking her to carry out improvements to the building had failed, the council served a notice under powers granted by the Town and Country Planning Act.  The notice required that works be carried out to improve the appearance of the property. The owner failed to comply with the requirements of the notice.

Ms Holmes, of 6 Fydell Crescent, Boston, did not attend the hearing at Boston Magistrates' Court on December 17 and she was found guilty in her absence of failing to comply with the requirements of the notice served on her. She was fined £400 plus a £40 victim surcharge and was ordered to pay the council's costs of £448.05. 

Cllr Derek Richmond, portfolio holder for the town centre, said: "This case demonstrates that the council is serious about improving the appearance of buildings and pursuing property owners who think they can just ignore us and the court. Along with English Heritage we had done all within our power to help this property owner to help herself. Now, as well as a court appearance, a fine and costs she will have to repay the £7,000 it has cost the council to ensure the building is in good repair.

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"If you are an owner of an eligible property in a significant state of disrepair, don't wait for the council to have to serve notice on you. Come and see if you can be eligible for a grant and restore the property. The reward for a small investment can be substantial, and can keep you out of court."
The grant scheme is only open for a limited time so interested owners should get in touch as soon as they can.
Contact Conservation Project Officer Liz Bates for advice about work which may be eligible for a grant and to discuss opportunities to improve the condition and quality of properties. Contact her on 01205 314339 or email liz.bates@boston.gov.uk