Court of Appeal allows demolition of "derelict" building

Out-Law News | 11 May 2012 | 2:04 pm | 1 min. read

The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of Stockton Council to allow it to proceed with the demolition of Billington House, the former headquarters of chemical company ICI, and now a derelict office block.

The owners of the building, Bizzy B Management, appealed against an earlier ruling to allow the demolition of the offices on the grounds that to demolish the building would be "irrational" and would breach it's human rights.

Lord Justice Mummery, Lord Justice Hooper and Lord Justice Pitchford dismissed Bizzy B's Court of Appeal challenge to block Stockton Council's plans to demolish the building and ruled that it was in the public interest.

Bizzy B claimed that demolition should not go ahead because they had viable plans to refurbish the "landmark", and that this meant that the conditions of the grant from a regional development agency to fund the demolition would not be met because of this viable plan.

The Council argued that Bizzy B's refurbishment proposal was flawed and that the actual cost for the work would be double the amount it had estimated.

The Court ruling said that the Council had worked with Bizzy B to allow it to bring forward a suitable refurbishment plan, but after many years of waiting and a failure of the company to bring any proposals forward, it was "perfectly reasonable" for the Council to conclude that the building should now be demolished.

Stockton Council’s contractors moved in to begin demolition work in September last year after the High Court ruled that the Council was legally entitled to proceed with demolition.  But after "substantial" preparatory works had been carried out, work was halted after Bizzy B was granted a hearing to reconsider their application for permission to appeal.

“We have fought for a long time on behalf of local residents to clear Billingham House from the landscape. They should never have had to endure the nightmare of having this derelict shell on their doorsteps for all these years," said Mike Smith of Stockton Council.

“I very much hope this will be the beginning of the end for Billingham House and we expect our contractors to resume their work within the next few weeks ... I look forward to the day when the site can be redeveloped to the benefit of the local community," he said.