‘Eyesore’ former pub could be bought by council and turned into new town centre homes
Date published: 25 March 2021
Photo: Google, DigitalGlobe
The former Navigation Inn on Drake Street, Rochdale
An ‘eyesore’ former pub near Rochdale train station could be bought by the council and turned into housing.
The Navigation Inn, on Drake Street, has stood empty for more than 10 years and is now showing signs of ‘neglect and extensive deterioration’.
Council officers say its dilapidated condition is ‘undermining’ the reputation of both the town centre and the borough – particularly given its position at a ‘key gateway’.
Planning consent for an office scheme has long expired and negotiations with the owner have reportedly stalled.
Now the council is set to use its powers to acquire the building with the aim of converting it into new homes.
A report going before cabinet next week recommends members back a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to take it into the ownership of the local authority.
It states: “Acquiring the site for development will contribute to the economic, social and environmental well-being of Rochdale town centre, by removing a large visual reminder of the socio-economic problems it has faced in recent years.
“The redevelopment of the site will make a number of social, economic and environmental improvements to the local area.”
Benefits are said to include meeting housing need, reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and improving ‘the attractiveness and vitality of a main road into the town centre.’
Council leader Allen Brett has previously branded the former pub as one of the ‘biggest eyesores in the borough’.
And town hall chiefs say its current condition is a deterrent to investment and causes significant ‘visual harm’ to the surrounding area.
The report to cabinet adds: “The property is in close proximity to residential and business premises, and its poor, deteriorated and vacant condition offers opportunities for crime and anti-social behaviour, particularly unauthorised occupation and other offenses made easier by the lack of surveillance due to the property standing empty.”
CPOs should only be used by local authorities as a ‘last resort’, but council officers say this point has now been reached, as attempts to encourage the owner to bring the property back into ‘productive use’ have failed.
However, the council remains open to negotiation on a voluntary sale and remains hopeful of reaching an agreement with the owner.
Cabinet members will also decide whether to progress CPOs at four other properties in the borough, with a view to redeveloping or refurbishing them for housing.
- A semi-detatched property at 255 Rooley Moor Road, Rochdale, which is part of the row of shops
- An end terrace house at 35 Royle Barn Road, Castleton
- An end terrace house at 20 Olive Street, Heywood
- An end terrace house at 3 Croft Street, Rochdale
Rochdale council cabinet meets next Tuesday (30 March).
Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter
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