The demolition of the B-listed Halley’s Mill in Dundee could be reported to the Procurator Fiscal.
The mill on Broughty Ferry Road, also known as Wallace Craigie jute works, was knocked down on May 12 due to “safety concerns” under a warrant obtained under building standards.
However, the process for tearing down listed buildings is different and therefore the proper permissions were not in place.
A report to be considered by councillors recommends that Dundee City Council reports the demolition by the building’s owners under Section 8 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.
Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council’s planning committee said: “As part of a verbal update to the last committee by the executive director of city development an undertaking was given to bring a report to the next planning committee
“That report will be considered on Monday June 18 and it outlines the three options available to us – take no further action, issue an enforcement notice or report the matter to the Procurator Fiscal.
“The executive director’s report recommends reporting the matter to the Procurator Fiscal and the committee will discuss the issue and reach its decision when it meets.”
The committee will be told that on May 11 the city council became aware that demolition work had started on the former Wallace Craigie Works (Halley’s Mill) site, information that was confirmed when officers visited.
Separate statutory permissions under planning and building legislation are needed from the council before any works, including demolition, can be carried out.
Historic Environment Scotland has confirmed it was not asked to review the listing and was not contacted about the demolition proposal.
It later advised that: “The demolition of Wallace Craigie Works has resulted in the complete loss of a Category B Listed Building, part of Dundee’s rich industrial heritage.”
“It is now a matter for the council to decide what is in the public interest to happen next. We would fully expect this to be appropriate to the scale and seriousness of the unauthorised works undertaken.”
In his report Mike Galloway, executive director of city development, lays out the arguments for and against the three possible options.
The report notes that: “The unauthorised demolition of a Listed Building is a significant breach of National Legislation as reinforced through the comments by Historic Environment Scotland. Taking no further action is not considered to be an appropriate response”.
Under consideration of serving an Enforcement Notice the report says it would not be an appropriate course of action because the building: “…has now been completely demolished and materials removed from the site”. Any restoration would not be reasonably practicable.
When looking at whether to recommend reporting the matter to the Procurator Fiscal Mr Galloway’s report says: “There was frequent correspondence between council officers and the owner’s representatives late in 2017.
“The information that was provided by the owner’s representatives, in the opinion of Dundee City Council engineers, clearly confirmed that while defects were present, demolition was not the only option to preserve safety or indeed the building.”
It goes on: “Given the nature and the lack of notification or contact with Dundee City Council prior to the commencement of the demolition process, it is considered that this displays a disregard for the statutory process.”
The report therefore recommends that Dundee City Council reports the matter to the Procurator Fiscal.