A pledge to take action on Oswestry’s derelict high street has been made by Shropshire Council’s leader.
After years of decline, many of the shops in Cross Street now lie vacant – and more worryingly is the state of the buildings which have loose gutters and issues with pigeons.
But now Councillor Malcolm Pate has told town councillCrosors to ‘call my guys’.
He said if the council is struggling to get landlords to complete important repair works, they should speak to him.
Cllr Pate continued: “If there are dangerous buildings, then we can take action.
“If they won’t speak to you, we can do the work and make them pay because dangerous buildings are a liability.”
In particular, the cast-iron gutters above the former Burtons and Clintons store in Cross Street hang precariously over the pavement – and previously fell off in April 2013 – while part of the building housing Sports Direct crumbled on to the street last year, narrowly missing passers-by.
Councillor Chris Schofield, who questioned Cllr Pate about the state of the town-centre shops, said: “I am keen to see some action now.
“Anyone who walks past can see those gutters could go at any time, so I will be following this up with the town clerk.
“Of course a lot more needs to be done in Cross Street – successive mayors have tried, but it’s not a simple job and nobody wants to see these shops as they are.”
Councillor Steve Mason said he supported the pledge, adding: “It is a major issue and people are concerned about it – and if something could be done, then at least people would see movement.
“We are aware of what is going on – we just want action. These landlords sit in London and don’t know what is going on. But if nothing is done, it could lead to a major incident.”
Cllr Pate also said the damage to town centres is down to out-of-town developments, adding: “We made the mistake of going with out-of-town shopping.
“What we are seeing in our town centres is a natural consequence.
“What we need to do is make our town centres more interesting. Oswestry has a lot of independent shops and it is about getting them and restaurants into the town – that will make the difference.
“I think you are halfway there.”