The owners of a historic Dundee mill demolished last month could be fined or jailed if they are successfully prosecuted for razing the building.
Councillors on Dundee City Council’s planning committee agreed unanimously last night to report Craigie Estates Ltd to the procurator fiscal for knocking down the B-listed Wallace Craigie Works – also known as Halley’s Mill – last month.
If the fiscal prosecutes the case successfully then the owners could face a fine of up to £50,000 and up to two years in prison.
The company said the demolition was necessary on public safety grounds and has said it obtained a building warrant in April that gave it permission to level the building.
But the council’s executive director of city development, Mike Galloway, told the planning committee further permissions were necessary before the site could be cleared.
He said: “It is very clear that at the end of the warrant it says other permissions may well be required.
“We are absolutely confident as officers that the building warrant did not in any way allow the building to be demolished.”
Committee convener Will Dawson said the council had three options: to take no action against Craigie Estates, to issue an enforcement notice or report the company to the procurator fiscal for possible criminal prosecution.
The SNP councillor said: “In my view, the first two options are non-starters.
“The only viable option is to report the matter to the procurator fiscal.”
West End Liberal Democrat councillor Fraser Macpherson said: “This particular situation has caused a great deal of anguish. In the 1960s and 70s previous administrations demolished a lot of buildings where, with the benefit of hindsight, we would have made a different decision.
“It is important to send a message to developers that we will take the hardest possible action when consent isn’t obtained.”
SNP councillor Ken Lynn, whose Maryfield ward included Halley’s Mill, said: “We can’t undo what’s been done but we can ensure the persons responsible face the consequences.”
A spokesman for Craigie Estates said: “We note the committee’s decision. Given the council’s decision to refer this to the Procurator Fiscal, it would be inappropriate to comment.”