WORK has begun to secure a boundary fence around Hardgate Hall after its owners were threatened with legal action.

West Dunbartonshire Council had issued the Waterman Trust Company Limited with two legal orders to address problems with security at the site and the continued deterioration of the C-listed building.

And last week the firm, which abandoned plans to build 25 affordable flats on the site in 2012, commenced work to reinstate fencing, ensuring youngsters and vandals are unable to enter the grounds.

Colin Newman, building standards officer with the council, told last Wednesday’s meeting of the planning committee: “In order to give members the most up-to-date information I visited the site yesterday. Last week the fencing started to be repaired and re-erected. There are sections that still have to be finished but the good news is the owner has been spurred on by this action. In February we will provide you with a report as to whether or not they have fully complied.”

Hassan Sayani, of the Waterman Trust Company Limited, recently told the Post the business also intended to comply with a second notice requiring Hardgate Hall be made wind and watertight.

The terms of both notices state West Dunbartonshire Council could do the work itself and recoup the costs from the Waterman Trust Company Limited should it fail to comply with the orders by the end of January 2016.

West Dunbartonshire Council began investigating the Hardgate Hall site earlier this year after Provost Douglas McAllister demanded action be taken to improve the eyesore.

He said it had been a headache for Hardgate residents, claiming some neighbours were still awaiting repairs to their gardens as a result of damage caused during earlier ground works. 

Responding to reports a developer had made on offer on the site, Provost McAllister said: “I note the developer, or person showing an interest, has had initial discussions with planning officers and while I appreciate things are at an early stage, if ownership is transferred, I would suspect he would want to have further discussions with planning officers before any formal planning application is made. I would hope our planning officers would relate the concerns from local residents. The local residents are clear that they are looking for remedial action in terms of damage to their gardens and I would hope that the developer would be aware of that.”

Councillor McAllister added: “I’m glad its coming back to us in February so we keep the pressure up. The sale may not go through so in February we may look to take other actions.”

Planning permission was granted for a block of 25 flats to be built on the land surrounding Hardgate Hall in January 2011. The Waterman Trust Company Limited began constructing the flats in March 2012 but scrapped the work six months later.