Demolition delay

Billingham House.
Billingham House.

DEMOLITION work on a building branded an “eyesore” by council chiefs has been delayed because of the summer downpours.

Preparation work to pull down Billingham House has started after a lengthy court battle with the owners.

But work has been halted after heavy rain caused water to gather in the basement.

A pump is working round the clock to clear it and get back on track.

Stockton Borough Council decided to demolish the former ICI headquarters after it fell into disrepair.

Council bosses hoped to start dismantling the main structure this month. But it is now likely to be next month before contractors can begin demolition.

A council spokesman said: “Work is progressing on the preparation work for the demolition of Billingham House.

“The recent heavy rain has caused a slight delay in the work as the basement has collected water and a pump is operating 24 hours a day to alleviate this.

“We anticipate the actual demolition should commence in early September.”

Work to demolish Billingham House was held up by a lengthy court battle with its owners Bizzy B.

Contractors had moved in to get ready for demolition last September after the High Court had ruled the council was legally entitled to go ahead with the work.

But after substantial preparations had been carried out, work was halted when Bizzy B was granted a hearing to reconsider its application for permission to appeal.

The Court of Appeal ruling in the council’s favour in May finally cleared the path for dismantling to begin.

The former headquarters of ICI has fallen into disrepair after being left empty for more than six years.

Council chiefs said they had overwhelming support from local residents, councillors and the business community and won planning approval for the demolition.