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Growing concerns for Annan’s buildings

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By Euan Maxwell
Annan and Eskdale
Growing concerns for Annan's buildings
EYESORE . . . Annan Town Hall

SWATHES of buildings around Annan town centre are under threat of permanent structural damage due to rapidly growing weeds, a councillor has warned.

Businesses, residential properties, and council-owned buildings on the High Street including the town hall – which all lie within a conservation area – have long been home to invasive vegetation climbing up walls and through brickwork.

And there are fears that if left to grow, the historic structures risk falling into a state of permanent disrepair with increased chances of further deterioration.

Councillor Richard Brodie said that, as well as having a negative visual impact on the town, the weeds “could be a real danger to the public”.

He added: “If roots get into the building’s sandstone then it’s going to weaken the structure and cause future safety concerns.

“This is a problem which a lot of people in Annan have raised with me and obviously we’re trying to get more visitors to come to Annan so it’s important that both the property owners and the council work together to try and solve this problem, because unless we do something about it we’re not going to get the visitors to Annan that the town deserves.”

Last week Mr Brodie met with a council official to discuss how the local authority could tackle the issue and help business and property owners in Annan to rid buildings of the nuisance plants.

“The council has a cherry picker and perhaps there could be a partnership between the council and businesses,” he added. “If we all work together, the charges would be less and obviously the council has a responsibility to look after the town hall and make it look good.

“So they could provide this cherry picker, and if a business was going to do that it would cost a lot of money – but it would be a much reduced cost if the council were to organise it.”

The official told Mr Brodie they would “have a think what they could do” to obtain the elevating platform and consult property owners about carrying out the work.

“She said it’s not something the council had done across the region before as far as she knew but that it would be an idea worth pursuing,” he added.

Mr Brodie reiterated there “needs to be an innovative solution” to remove the weeds but said it would have to be cost-effective due to the council’s “tight budget”.

He added: “At the end of the day, it’s the property owner’s responsibility to take ownership of the problem because it’s their building and if they let the buildings get into a state of disrepair then it’s going to be to their detriment.”

Marion Stewart, secretary of Annan Community Council, said the group would “absolutely welcome” any action the local authority is willing to take.

She added: “We’re always talking about some of the buildings in the town centre with regards to the weeds growing out – not just with regards to the buildings, the weeds that are growing out of the drains are a disgrace as well.

“So anything that councillor Brodie can persuade the council to do would certainly be an improvement.

“The community council are working hard to improve some of the local area, getting rid of weeds and putting membranes down and trying to improve them. So anything that the council will do would definitely improve the area.”

Foot path concerns

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