Business punished for failing to secure fire ravaged empty property

Rotherham Council has prosecuted a company after fire services were called out five times within a year to deal with fires within a derelict building and grounds.

Millside Developments Ltd was taken to court for its failure to comply with notices served under the Anti-social Behavior, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Sheffield Magistrates Court heard how a former school and training centre, the Millside Centre, on Doncaster Road in Dalton, was visited by council officers following complaints of fire damage, broken windows, and open access to the building and grounds.

In addition to the reported fires in 2021 and 2022, the building was attracting anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping and rough sleeping.

Concerns had been raised around the potential harm to someone accessing the building, as well as the site having a detrimental effect on the surrounding area.

Notices were sent to the owners ordering the premises be secured, a structural survey to be carried out, and for the waste to be removed and properly disposed of.

Failing to comply with the notices, the company was found guilty in its absence from court, fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £2,819 costs and a victim surcharge of £2,000.

Cabinet member for transport and the environment, Councillor Dominic Beck, said: “I hope this case sends out a message to all companies to secure their empty premises and prevent them to be used as a dumping ground for waste.

“It makes the area look unkempt and uncared for, affecting the wellbeing of residents. We are committed to doing what we can to hold owners to account and I am pleased we have secured these convictions as a deterrent to others.”