THE sorry state of the old Co-op building in Whitton High Street featured in one of your letters recently, with the writer exhorting the council to do something about it.
As a councillor for Whitton, I should like to clarify the position.
Firstly, Sainsbury's was not thwarted by the council in their negotiations for this building. It is council planning policy to encourage new in-town supermarkets into our high streets, and Whitton is no exception.
Sainsbury's was granted planning permission in February 2008 and I spoke in support of Sainsbury's to the planning committee. Sadly, Sainsbury's later pulled out for commercial reasons in the summer of 2008.
Another large retailer has since been interested in the site and we hope they will soon be able to bring this building back into use.
In the meantime, yes, the building is a disgrace. It is a huge pity that a cooperative bid for the site in 2005 from several of the high street traders was rejected by the Co-op.
Instead it was sold to another bidder and remains private property. It is up to the present owners to maintain it in reasonable order.
The council's surveyor visited the site in January this year. We have since seen the agent's broken signboard taken down.
As regards the vermin in the building, the council's enforcement officer has asked the freeholder to secure the building and arrange for windows to be boarded up.
With Whitton's St George's Day parade coming up, we really don't want this eyesore spoiling the high street a moment longer.
Several parties are actively involved trying to get something positive sorted out in the very short term and I am confident it will be spruced up in the next few weeks. We have seen broken windows repaired last week.
Remember, there's a huge amount more to Whitton than this one derelict site.
LIZ JAEGER councillor for Whitton Ward