A PLANNING application to build a two-metre high fence around a partially demolished building in Prudhoe has been approved by councillors.

Concerns were raised in March last year over the safety of the Prudhoe Drill Hall site on Swalwell Close.

Work to knock down the site and replace it with six four-bedroom, three-storey houses stopped unexpectedly, leaving the site unsecure with debris blowing around.

Almost a year later, councillors at Tuesday’s meeting of Tynedale Local Area Council agreed to build a wooden fence around the site.

The new fence will replace the temporary metal fencing that has been in place since last year, adding more security to the derelict building.

Council planning officers told the meeting that the fence would be put up due to health and safety concerns following a visit from Northumberland County Council’s building control and environmental health team.

They also explained that the reason demolition had stopped was because the site’s owner had been “indefinitely detained and could not continue to work”.

Councillors unanimously approved the application, meaning the wooden fence could be in place for up to two years, although that could be extended.

Coun. Anne Dale, who represents Stocksfield and Broomhaugh, questioned whether action could be taken against the site owner.

She said: “This has been an issue for a long time. I just wondered if this is a cost to the council, and are there no other ways that action can be taken?”

She was told that the council’s legal team was looking into what could be done with the site, but that they could not take action to demolish the building completely as they were not the landowner.