‘Conservation Area’ status is hindering rather than helping local authorities deal with ruinous properties.

That is the view of Ramsey Commissioners, who are going to write to the conservation officer about the issue.

The board have noted that if a property is in a conservation area it usually takes longer for planning applications to be considered – and additional restrictions are usually placed on the owners for maintenance and repair – thus deterring them from embarking on improvement schemes.

The property that has served to highlight the issue is 5 College Street, which has been on the commissioners’ list of ruinous properties for some time.

It was subject to a ‘time and place’ meeting when the sale to its current owner went through, meaning that necessary works had to be carried out within a certain time period.

The property is subject to frequent acts of vandalism due to its history, current condition and its location, being slightly out of the main street and next to a car park.

The owner wants to refurbish the house, with a repair required to an external wall, but his efforts are being hampered by having to submit two applications as it is in a conservation area.

The commissioners are to write to the planning committee in support of a swift resolution of the application, to allow the work to begin as soon as possible, and they will also write to the conservation officer about the impact the regulations are having on the town.