Work has begun to improve a former hotel after the owner was fined and ordered to carry out repairs.
The Evening Telegraph reported earlier this month that the owner of the building, Mayfair Charities Ltd, had been fined £415 for ignoring an official notice to carry out repairs on the building in Silver Street, Wellingborough, which has been vacant for about 20 years.
Wellingborough town centre is designated as a conservation area and Wellingborough Council has the power to instruct property owners to improve the appearance of buildings when they are not maintained properly.
The official notice and list of improvements were issued to the owner after informal attempts to ask them to repair the building were unsuccessful.
The prosecution went ahead when the official notice was ignored. The Angel Hotel closed in the 1960s and was later used as a doctors’ surgery and then an art shop and showroom.
Shoppers yesterday said they remembered the building in various guises, including as a shoe shop.
William Mooney, of Irchester, said: “It looks better. It looked a tip before. Any shop that’s left empty for a long time bothers me. It would be nice to see a shop in the building after all these years.”
John Merrington, owner of Software Seller in Silver Street, which is across the road from the former Angel Hotel, said: “I’m pleased they have been fined. The building is in a prominent position. Now the front has been painted, it does make it look a bit better.
“Rather than having it sitting there as an empty, deteriorating building, I think they should sort it out and let it.
“Due to the length of time it’s been unoccupied I think they should be forced to sell it – why should they just be able to leave it?”
Cllr Graham Lawman, chairman of the council’s development committee, said the local authority would be checking on the work at the building.
He said: “It’s important to us as far as I’m concerned. It was not acceptable how it was. It took us a while to track down the owners but we haven’t finished with it yet.
“The conservation officer will be going down to check all the work we wanted done has been done.”