Calls for 'eyesore' to be demolished
RESIDENTS are calling for a derelict pub to be bulldozed after it has become a magnet for anti-social behaviour and vandal attacks.
Concerns have been raised that the former Woodshutts pub in Butt Lane is becoming a danger to the public as it falls further into disrepair.
The building, in Lower Ash Road, has been repeatedly broken into and vandalised.
Scrap metal thieves and fly-tippers have also targeted the site.
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Residents living nearby say action needs to be taken as soon as possible.
Gillian Preston, aged 46, of First Avenue, said: "I'm concerned because places like this, that are left unattended and uncared for, are a hive for anti-social behaviour. There are a lot of children and elderly people in the area, so it's an issue that needs to be dealt with.
"We have been in the beer garden and there are needles, canisters and mattresses. People have broken in, and we've had people smashing the pipes off the walls for scrap.
"The site should be cleared and used for housing – this is a residential area."
Fellow campaigner Hazel Tench, aged 66, of Mitchell Avenue, said: "I would like to see the building knocked down because it's dangerous.
"Children are messing around there and it's become a dumping ground. It's an eyesore. It's on the main bus route and it's not a very good selling point for Butt Lane.
"It should be something that would benefit Butt Lane, like a car park or some suitable housing."
Residents have enlisted the help of Kyle Robinson, Labour councillor for Butt Lane, who has asked Newcastle Borough Council to take action to get the site cleared up.
Mr Robinson, who is also chairman of the Butt Lane Locality Action Partnership, said: "I've campaigned with residents in the past to get the pub cleaned up, and we've done litter picks, but there's not really much more we can do with it.
"The state of the building is shocking and it needs demolishing.
"It's one of the issues I get the most complaints about as a councillor.
"I've asked the borough council to serve an order on the property, and we are waiting for them to come back to us about who owns it.
"It's been empty for about five years and up for sale for ages, but no one is going to buy it in that state because it needs so much work.
"It's becoming an anti-social behaviour hotspot and it's an eyesore.
"I have written to the fire and rescue service to make them aware that the building is also a fire risk, because fires are being lit inside the building.
"This piece of land would be the ideal site for some Aspire bungalows or even a small car park to relieve congestion outside of the shops on Lower Ash road."
Residents believe the owner of the site lives in London.
Newcastle Borough Council said it would inform the owner if the property was not secure.
A spokesman said: "This is not a borough council owned building, but is in private hands.
"However, the environmental health team are aware and monitor the premises to make sure that it's not open to access and would inform the owners of the building if it was not secure. The Newcastle Safer Communities Partnership is also aware of this property."