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Urging end of eyesore


Residents want action to improve a derelict café that has been in a dilapidated state for more than 35 years.

Ollerton Village Residents’ Association want the district council to compulsorily purchase the former Leggott’s Café, on Wellow Road.

There are also calls for the building’s owners, Sam Smith’s Brewery, to redevelop other run-down sites it owns in Ollerton — the former Sherwood Garage, on Main Street, and nearby former farm buildings.

Despite calls for a compulsory purchase order for the café, the chief executive of Newark and Sherwood District Council, Mr Andrew Muter, said this was unlikely at present.

He told Ollerton and Boughton annual town meeting: “To make a compulsory purchase order you have to have an idea of what is in mind.

“You cannot purchase speculatively and must have resources lined up.

“You have to find someone prepared to take on the future use.”

A district councillor for Ollerton, Mr Brian Smith, said the situation had been on-going for about 20 years.

He said people wanted a permanent solution because the café was in a prominent position in the conservation area.

He said it was attracting vandalism and the surrounding area was starting to become run down.

He called for compulsory purchase of the site and said pressure needed to be put on Sam Smith’s to do something.

“Ollerton is growing and developing. It is nice to look at but unfortunately this, together with Ollerton Hall, is an eyesore,” Mr Smith said.

Mr Pete Wilkinson, the district council’s planning services manager, said the council contacted Sam Smith’s before Christmas and although they agreed to a January meeting a date was never confirmed. He had heard nothing since.

He said new guttering had been installed on the café and he thought the boarding had been painted or replaced.

“From a planning point of view we can only issue a section 215 order which requires areas of land or buildings to be tidied up,” Mr Wilkinson said.

He said the owners had made some improvements when asked and it would be difficult to pursue anything more.

He had tried to get them to talk about future proposals for the land. He said there was clearly development potential on the former garage site which they did not seem to want to realise.

Mr Wilkinson said: “You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.”

Mrs Carole Turner said she and the leader of the town council, Mr Ben Wells, saw plans from a Sam Smith’s representative about ten years ago.

“Where ever those plans are now, I do not know,” she said.

Mr Wells said Sam Smith’s did not seem interested in any development.

Mr Stan Crawford said there had to be an end use and someone to finance it.

He said: “The way forward is for the town council and the district council to develop a scheme and then move it forward.”

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