Bulldozers to move in on derelict pub
AN EYESORE former pub targeted by vandals and arsonists is finally set to be knocked down.
Residents have been campaigning for 11 years for action to be taken over the former Swallows Nest, in Newstead, following its closure.
The Ufton Close building has attracted thieves, drug addicts and homeless people over the years leaving the residents in fear.
Now Cobridge demolition firm Baskerville Reclamation is involved in a planning application to demolish the eyesore building.
It is proposed to knock down the venue in February once planning approval is secured.
Sid Birkin, aged 71, of Ufton Close, who started drinking in the pub in 1963, said: "It will be a sad day when the pub is knocked down.
"It was the hub of the estate and a lovely building.
"It should not have been allowed to get into such an awful state.
"Now that the building is secure and boarded up we don't have as much trouble but something needs to be done."
In 2010, Stoke-on-Trent City Council posted an enforcement notice on the building which gave the owner a certain amount of time to carry out repairs and maintenance at the site. But the time limit expired without any repairs being carried out.
The site was sold to a new owner for £55,000 at an auction in October.
Neighbour Michael Nixon, aged 69, of Ufton Close, said: "I spent half my life in the Swallows Nest so it is sad about what happened but I have no objection to it being demolished.
Victoria Sargeant, aged 31, who also lives in Ufton Close, said: "It is sad to see the building in such a state but it does need to go as it is beyond repair.
"I am worried that they could build flats on the site because I think it will attract the wrong sort of people."
Former Blurton councillor Brian Ward spent eight years trying to arrange improvement work at the site.
He said: "I didn't think the people of Newstead should have to put up with the building but it was so difficult.
"Many of the companies which ended up owning the site were not even British, so you could not get hold of anybody.
"It's driven me around the bend. I was dealing with the matter on a weekly basis, although people from the area probably thought that no one was interested but I made exhaustive attempts."
"The council currently has a bill of at least £20,000 for outstanding payments to be paid from different owners."
The planning application to demolish the former Swallows Nest has been submitted by Narinder Joshi, who lives in London. Mr Joshi was today unavailable for comment.
Residents are being consulted about the planning application until January 25, with a decision expected on February 1.