IT could be a “long drawn out affair” before any progress is made with a building which has been abandoned after being partly demolished.

Residents in Prudhoe, close to the former Territorial Army Drill Hall on Swalwell Close had raised concerns that work to knock it down had halted earlier this year.

The plan was to build six three-storey houses in its place, but it was left half demolished.

At the last meeting of Prudhoe Town Council, county councillor for the area, Ken Stow, said: “The property is owned by a person who is in prison for eight years.”

He said the public protection department of Northumberland County Council was looking to see whether it was possible to sell the site on to a private developer.

“This is, I think, going to be a long drawn out affair,” he added.

A spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council said officers were making periodic visits to ensure the site was safe.

She added: “Acknowledging the concerns raised by local residents, and the owner being unable to take action to ensure that it does not become a risk to public safety, officers from the council have visited the site to assess the nature of the risk and the potential options.

“We are looking at options to ensure the long term safety and security of the site, including the possible demolition of the building.”