Business minds behind Leyland’s biggest eyesore have today broken their silence as it was revealed plans are now in place for a complete overhaul.
The Shadh takeaway on Chapel Brow has been left a crumbling wreck since a sewer collapsed under the building more than three years ago.
Sewer work was resolved but continued talks over insurance claims mean the takeaway is still boarded up and held together by scaffolding, despite numerous calls by residents, councillors and local business owners.
Now, Shiraz Miah, who took over the business last year, says after months of working to resolve the issues, plans are firmly in place to demolish the building once and for all and rebuild it from scratch.
He said: “This has been a long time coming and has taken a lot of hard work to get to this stage. We are working on the building regulations and the safety issues.
“We have got people looking at how to make the building safe so something like this doesn’t happen again. Once that is done, the whole thing will come down and it will be built from scratch.”
In July 2009, the whole of Chapel Brow was evacuated amid fears exposed gas pipes could explode.
The next day businesses and residents were let back in but the Shadh, which is above the problem sewer, had collapsed on one side.
Mr Miah, who took over the business while insurance negotiations were still ongoing last year, said: “I was in talks every day to try and move this forward.
“The insurance is now all sorted. That is the thing that has taken all the time. It has been really tough but it is now going to happen.
“Control is in our hands and we now just want to make sure we do it right. This is a joint venture between myself and the business owner and we are both just trying to get this to an end.”
Mr Miah has also revealed that, once completely overhauled, the building is set to become a healthy-option Indian takeaway, working to reduce the amount of colouring in Indian foods. He said: “It will be a beautiful building.”
Coun Cliff Hughes, South Ribble Council’s cabinet member for strategic planning and housing, said they had been working hard to resolve the issues.
He said: “I am delighted the owners took me up on my invitation to get around a table and really start to move this on.
“We had a very encouraging and productive chat, and there seems to be a real appetite from all concerned to finally sort out this building.
“We granted permission for them to demolish it earlier in the summer, now we’re working with them on a planning application to rebuild the property. “Our priorities remain the same as they have been since all this started – to get this eyesore sorted out as soon as possible while ensuring the safety of the public.
“Neighbouring residents and businesses will have the opportunity to have their say about the application as a standard part of the planning process.”