Manjeet mulls forced Co-op purchase

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Owners of run-down properties may be forced to sell them to the council, the chief executive of West Lindsey District Council has warned.

CEO Manjeet Gill told the Caistor Civic Society last week that WLDC ‘may’ look at compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) on some privately-owned empty buildings, but first the council would try and work with the buildings’ owners.

She added West Lindsey would support talks with the Co-op regarding their former outlet in the Market Square and with ACIS about the former depot at Mill Lane.

Council leader Jeff Summers branded CPOs a “very expensive ruthless approach” to getting things done, but there maybe times when they are needed to prevent buildings being left as an eyesore.

Coun Summers said both the town and the district council have been talking to the Co-op.

“The real stumbling block is the amount of work that has to be done and the asking price for the property. Until that comes into line, nothing will happen,” he said.

Caistor Town Clerk Helen Pitman said the Caistor Neighbourhood Plan has raised concerns about needing to ‘do something’ with empty properties but the town council has no CPO powers. In 2013, it proposed a £325,000 redevelopment but members were concerned about committing the council to such a long-term project, but they can always revisit the matter after the May 2015 elections, Mrs Pitman added.