A ROAD closure is in place at the site of a derelict building.

A small section of road, between Swalwell Close and Fair View, has been closed due to the "potential risk of failure" of part of the Prudhoe Drill Hall site.

Concerns were first raised over the safety of the former Territorial Army drill hall in 2019.

Northumberland County Council is now preparing an application for a court order, under Section 77 of the Building Act, to undertake work on the building and/or installation of structural scaffolding to remove the "danger" from the building.

It comes after campaigning from MP Guy Opperman, Prudhoe Town Councillor Tracy Gilmore and local residents.

Work on the building, which was most recently used as a gym, began in December 2018 but work to knock down the site and replace it with six four-bedroom, three-storey houses stopped unexpectedly, leaving the site unsecure.

The site is owned by fraudster Stanley Miller who swindled almost £6million of public money before being stripped of his assets and ordered to pay back his illicit profits.  

Miller was jailed for eight years and three months in 2021 after he was caught out in a series of frauds which saw him pocket £5,952,339.57 of taxpayers’ money.

A complex investigation pieced together by HMRC found he had been deliberately evading paying VAT, Income Tax and National Insurance between May 1, 2008 and February 28, 2016, as well as laundering money and benefitting from criminal cash.

MP Guy Opperman said: “I welcome this update which shows action is being taken.

"I will continue to work closely with Northumberland County Council and HMRC to ensure the voices of local residents are heard.

"Local residents are fed up of this dangerous eyesore.”

A spokesman for Northumberland County Council added: "The building has been of concern to local residents for several years and we have previously installed a high fence and secured all ground floor opening to restrict access to it.

"The council has been monitoring the condition of the building and following a recent inspection, it was found there was a risk of failure to part of the building, which could result in masonry falling onto the road and placing the public at risk.

"The decision taken to close the road and with support from Legal Services, we are now reviewing the need for any further action."

Prudhoe North councillor Angie Scott has welcomed the road closure in the interests of safety. She said: "I have been in contact with Northumberland County Council officers on a regular basis on this derelict building since I was elected to serve on the council.

“A recent survey of the building has deemed it to be unsafe and unfortunately the road is now closed, but I understand this is to keep people safe because of the state of the building.

“I look forward to this problem being resolved in the interests of local people and I will continue to be in discussions with council officers until this is sorted out.”