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Gloucestershire Business News

Petition calls for demolition of derelict building

A petition calling for the demolition of a derelict four storey office building from which a boy fell to his death in Stroud, on Friday (June 18), has reached more than 2,000 signatures within hours of being launched.

The petition on change.org was started by four local people after the death of 15 year old North Vernon-White when he fell from the roof of Tricorn House, a former DHSS building which has been disused for about 20 years.

It follows a call from North's family for urgent action to make the building safe.

One of the petition organisers, Bonnie Denning, said "Tricorn house as been abandoned for years. It has no use. Following the recent heartbreaking event, it needs to go. It will now be a constant reminder to friends and family of this tragic event, and it needs to go to prevent anymore of this happening."

By lunchtime today the petition had reached 2,110 signatures and the number was rapidly going up.

One of the signatories, Ian Rice, stated "A tragic accident happened because the owners/council have left it in this state when it should have been demolished or refurbished years ago. Which would have avoided this tragic happening. The owners & council are acountable for this."

North Vernon-White lived in nearby Westward road, Stroud, and was a pupil at Archway School in the town.

North's grieving family say they have visited the site since the tragedy and found it was still easy to gain entry to the building. They are calling for it to be secured so youngsters cannot get in and put themselves at risk.

There have been many plans to redevelop the ugly Tricorn House site over the years but none have ever come to fruition.

Stroud District Council attempted a Compulsory Purchase Order in 2008 but was unsuccessful. The building remains in the hands of Millville Limited, a Guernsey registered company, which bought it in 1996.

In a statement issued yesterday (Mon) Stroud District Council said they had contacted the owners of the building with an urgent request to secure it.

"The owners have agreed and all access points will be blocked off by officers today," said a spokesperson.

Council Leader Doina Cornell (Lab) said "The Council does not own Tricorn House, so has limited statutory powers but we feel the sense of loss and anger in our community, and we want to help stop anything like this from happening again.

"On behalf of all councillors and council officers, we send our deepest condolences to the family of the young man who died, and the community of which he was such a big part."

Stroud District Council Neighbourhood Wardens say they are stepping up patrols in the area working alongside the police.

"As local people will know, the council has granted planning permission for several schemes for the site although none have progressed. In recent months, the council has been working with Siobhan Baillie, MP for Stroud, to liaise with the owners on progressing the site's redevelopment," the council spokesperson said.

"We will continue to assist the police with their ongoing investigation where required."

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