A DERELICT newsagents has caught fire for the second time as its owner continues to ignore council requests to tidy up.
South Derbyshire District Council has said the owner of the former Hilltop News has not complied with any of its requests, following complaints from residents, and it remains empty and untidy.
Firefighters from Swadlincote, Burton, Moira and Derby’s Ascot Drive fire stations rushed to the scene, in Hastings Road, at the junction with Church Avenue, Swadlincote, at 7.18pm on Thursday.
On arrival, watch manager Jamie Lewis, of Swadlincote’s greenwatch, said the ground floor was on fire with smoke issuing from the first floor.
At the scene, he said: “We are now just dampening down but we did use two jets to extinguish the flames and a ladder from Burton to the first floor.
“We managed to avoid it spreading to the neighbouring homes and no one needed to be evacuated.”
The fire involved cable and joists in a false ceiling and it is now believed to have been caused by an electrical fault.
No one was hurt.
The newsagents has been well known as being left to rack and ruin, with Neil Tilley, who represents Swadlincote on the district council, saying: “There has been an issue with that property ever since I joined the council.
“I know former councillors Ron and Joan Lane had quite a lot of dealings with it. They were trying to find the owner.
“It had been reported several times as an untidy site and as a council we have a responsibility to act on this.
“It is an ongoing issue and I have had several complaints from residents just about it being an untidy site.”
The shop has been boarded up for more than 10 years and was the victim of a fire in May, 2010.
A council spokesman said: “The property is privately owned.
“The council has taken action over this property over a number of years.
“The owner has not complied with all our requests and we continue to press the owner to resolve the future of the building.
“Council officers have been to the property to make it safe.”