Is Myrtle Street, at the heart of the island’s capital and close to the town’s banking and legal district, the island’s most dilapidated street?
The answer is probably yes, according to one resident who has run a business from the area for a number of years.
Alan Blythe of Blythe Financial Limited says the property next door to his offices has been in a state of advanced decay for years and has been caught up in legal proceedings which have prevented renovation.
To make matters worse, there are two further properties on that street alone, which are also in a run down state.
‘We bought number 11 in 2006-7 and at the time, next door looked a bit tatty but was basically okay,’ Mr Blythe said.
‘Then later on we found out it was associated with a court action and had become part of those proceedings.
‘We understand that the HMRC in the UK had a possession order but it could not be enforced here without some kind of endorsement by the Manx courts. So far apparently it’s sat there and nothing seems to have happened.
‘It’s decayed so much in recent years it’s debatable whether the order would be worth enforcing.’
He said attempts to enter into correspendence about the property had failed, confusion seemed to exist about the status of the possession order and meanwhile the property fell into ever greater disrepair.
‘Something has to be done on grounds of public health or one day it will fall down and injure someone. Nothing seems to happen with it and everything seems to go round in circles.
‘It’s already at the stage where you would have to rip out the inside and start again but you would think someone would still want to realise the asset - and get rid of the liability.’
However, he said when they had threatened to erect scaffolding themselves to carry out essential repairs on the building they received a swift response from a high-class London solicitors’ firm warning them off.
Mr Blythe said the building has steadily deteriorated and at one point had daylight visible through the roof.
Ritchie McMicholl, chairman of Douglas Council’s Environmental Services Committee said he was aware the property had been involved in a court case.
‘I think HMRC were involved and because they are a Crown agency we were not able to get involved in proceedings with it,’ he said.
In other cases Mr McNicholl said the council had the power to take people to court and the court could require remedial work to be done.
If all else fails, he said, the council can also organise repairs which they pay for and the money can then be recouped by placing a charge on the property. This process has been used recently on a house on Derby Road, for example.
However, he added the process was only really viable if the property was likely to be sold in the near future so the council could get back its investment.
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