“I’m tearing my hair out and business is suffering, but nothing is being done.”
Those are the words of a frustrated business owner in Leyland, who says he is at the end of his tether because the building next door to his has been left crumbling for three years.
The former Shadh takeaway on Leyland’s Chapel Brow, started to fall down in June 2009 when a sewer collapsed underneath it.
United Utilities repaired the underground damage, and South Ribble Council arranged for the eyesore to be boarded up, but no action has been taken to rebuild it.
Ahmed Hafiz, who owns the Capsicum takeaway next door, said: “I’ve never known anything like this in other towns – it’s a terrible situation.
“I’m losing my hair over this.
“My insurance goes up year on year, and I don’t know if it’s because of the Shadh, which is attached to my takeaway, but the insurance company always asks a lot of questions about it.
“I’m so annoyed that nothing has been done.”
New owners bought the premises a few months ago, and applied to the council for permission to demolish it, saying that work was set to start in early June.
But since gaining approval, the owners are not obliged to keep the council updated on the progress, and the site remains looking like a mess.
“I’ve tried to find out who the new owners are,” Mr Hafiz added.
“I would have thought they would get touch to tell me about their plans, seeing as my takeaway is attached to the building they want to demolish.”
One of Chapel Brow’s newest shop owners is also frustrated by the eyesore.
Andrew Dickinson, who runs Grandad Jim’s sweet shop, said: “Nobody wants something like that in the middle of the street.
“It would make a huge difference to Chapel Brow if this is finally sorted out, but I think people are starting to lose faith.
“Shoppers are put off coming to Chapel Brow now, and it’s a shame for other businesses.”
Resident Pip Flynn, who lives on nearby Fleetwood Street opposite the crumbling building, said residents are worried it will take another three years before something is finally done.
He said: “People are still talking about it.
“It was a ray of hope when the new owners were given permission to demolish it, but we’re worried it’s just the same old story now.
“The timeline has started again – will it be another three years before we hear anything about what’s happening?”
Coun Caleb Tomlinson, who represents Leyland Central at the council, added: “It’s an absolute disgrace that this problem has been allowed to reach its three-year anniversary.
“As far as I was concerned, work was going to start a week after the demolition notice was approved, so it’s extremely frustrating that nothing has happened.
“People have been up in arms about this for so long, but they’re starting to get really fed up now.
“It looks like a bomb site, and the former owner should hang his head in shame for not putting this right.”
He added: “I never thought it would get to this stage. When the incident happened in 2009, I expected it all to be resolved within six months.
“There’s all this talk about regenerating the town centre, and we have this eyesore in the middle of it all.”
Despite numerous attempts, the Guardian has been unable to contact the owners of the building.