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Owner of blaze-hit former care home in Thackley 'wants rid'
The owner of a derelict nursing home in Bradford which is regularly targeted by arsonists, thieves and vandals says the property is the bane of his life and he wants rid.
Jeremy Davies, managing director of ADL, which owns a number of nursing homes across the district, was speaking out after The Knoll, off Leeds Road, Thackley, was in flames yesterday for a second time in three weeks.
Since the home shut three years ago it has been used as a hang-out by youths, he says, and has been stripped of its slates, copper piping and tanks and Yorkshire stone.
It has also been the target of a campaign by fed-up residents and ward councillors to be made more secure by his company to steer undesirables and nuisance-makers away from the area.
Bradford Council has also been carrying out its own investigation after those complaints and calls for it to use its powers to make the owners tighten up security until the premises are sold.
Mr Davies said he is constantly being “harassed” by the Council, police, neighbours and councillors who “whinge” and “moan”.
He said: “We are not the guilty party in this, we are the victims. This is the bane of my life.”
Mr Davies said his company was still paying rates but wondered why.
He said: “When the home closed in 2008 we told the police there were radiators in a pile, obviously having been collected up and waiting for thieves to return and pick up – they did nothing. When we told them about a pile of copper piping, they still did nothing. I do wonder why we pay our rates seeing as a huge proportion of it goes to the police.”
He also said ADL had installed more fencing at the property but it had been told by experts it would be impossible to completely secure it.
“We’ve had three different purchasers – one of whom actually saw men on the roof taking its slates. We have another purchaser now and have set them a deadline. If it doesn’t go through this time I’ll take it off the market, surround it with barbed wire and just leave it. We have other homes in the district and we work hard to run them as best we can, The Knoll is taking up too much time.”
An investigation into the cause was continuing last night. The trouble-stricken home has already been referred to West Yorkshire’s Arson Task Force.
Councillor Jeanette Sunderland (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley) said ADL was legally obliged to keep The Knoll secure and firefighters’ lives were being endangered.
She said: “Firefighters have to go into that building and make sure no-one is inside. Their lives are being put at risk because the building has not been made secure. The Council has been investigating this for one year now and we have not heard anything from them – now is the time.”
A Bradford Council spokesman said: “We worked with the owner and ward councillors to ensure perimeter fencing was put in place to make it more secure. We will carry out an inspection to check the structure of the building.”