Putting the block on office work

PUBLISHED: 11:22 09 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:35 06 May 2010

The office block

The office block

WORK at an eyesore building has hit another hurdle. Development company Speymill, which last month claimed to have started work to transform the Manulife office block (pictured) in St George s Way, Stevenage, into a four star hotel, has now taken its men

WORK at an eyesore building has hit another hurdle.

Development company Speymill, which last month claimed to have started work to transform the Manulife office block (pictured) in St George's Way, Stevenage, into a four star hotel, has now taken its men off site.

The company was advised to stop work because it did not have building control consent which makes sure developments are safely constructed.

In 1999 owners of the building Bluebird Holdings applied for planning permission to turn it into a four-star 126-bedroom hotel.

Planning permission ran out on Wednesday, January 18, two days after Speymill said it had started work to demolish the internal structure.

Bluebird Holdings is now applying for a six month extension to their application.

A Stevenage Borough Council spokesman said the council is concerned that there is still no satisfactory outcome for the dangerous building and it is currently considering the bid to extend planning permission.

Mayor of Stevenage Brian Underwood said: "Local people are fed up with seeing the building in its current state. What are the owners' true intentions for the site? They seem somewhat cloudy at the moment."

Stevenage MP Barbara Follett said: "This is a disgusting and deeply frustrating situation. The Manulife building is a blight on the town, and the best efforts of Stevenage Borough Council and myself are being frustrated by the inefficiency of the owners.

"The delay has been so bad that it brings into question the owner's intentions. I do not see why they do not co-operate fully with the town in its efforts to remove this eyesore."

The building has been plagued by arson and vandalism since it was last occupied almost 10 years ago.

ADS Designs, the agents acting for Bluebird Holdings, refused to comment on the latest application.

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