Owner of old church fined

Former pottery Methodist church and schoolroom, kilbourne rd, Belper.
Former pottery Methodist church and schoolroom, kilbourne rd, Belper.

the owner of a listed former church in Belper has been prosecuted for failing to stop it from causing a danger to the public.

Steven Pople had pleaded not guilty to an offence under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Under the act he was required to carry out repairs to the Grade II listed former Pottery Methodist Church and schoolroom on Kilbourne Road after it had fallen into disrepair.

He was found guilty at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay £2,475 in fines and costs.

The building is listed for its architectural and historic interest dating back to 1812.

Pople, of Shaftsbury Avenue, Derby, is said to have failed to follow advice from Amber Valley Borough Council as far back as 2007 when he was asked to repair the gutters, rainwater pipes and the roof, which was missing slates and posed a risk to his neighbour’s safety.

The council had written to him on several occasions and even offered him a £20,000 grant towards the cost of any repairs. This offer was not taken up and legal proceedings were brought after a further period of neglect to the building, the court heard.

Amber Valley councillor Steven Hayes said after the case: “The council has been concerned about the state of the building for a number of years and we’ve made every possible effort to persuade Mr Pople to carry out the repairs necessary to safeguard it.

“The successful prosecution demonstrates our commitment to protecting listed buildings and to the safety of the public in Amber Valley.”

The repair works are still outstanding, and if the owner does not take action to comply with the notice, the council may carry out the repairs itself and charge the owner for the works.

The owner was unavailable for comment as the News went to press.

A council spokesman said that the court heard that in Pople’s defence he had claimed the repair works were unnecessary and excessive.