BASILDON Council is considering taking legal action against the owners of a derelict bingo hall.

The authority is considering issuing a Section 215 notice which will require the owner of the dilapidated Pitsea Bingo Hall to bring it up to scratch.

The former bingo hall, in High Road, Pitsea, has been empty for a decade, but no plans have been put forward to redevelop the building or tear it down.

Residents and business owners have previously branded the hall as a ‘“public hazard” after asbestos was found on the property.

Luke Mackenzie, councillor for Pitsea South East, said: “The building is in a horrible state of repair, with parts regularly falling off.

“I hear that the basement has three feet of flooding and local residents have complained of rats on the site.

“I’m not only concerned about the sight of the building, but it’s also a safety risk.

“I believe this is a case of the owner looking to make a profit while neglecting their responsibility. I dare say they would do something if they lived or worked near the building. The person who let the building get this way should be ashamed of themselves.

“I’m glad that we are finally near finding a solution.”

As well as the section 215 notice the council is also exploring if the building can be given a protected status due to its historic significance, which will prevent it being turned into a block of high rise flats.

Mr Mackenzie added: “Hopefully we can get some sort of protection to preserve it and stop another part of Pitsea’s history from being destroyed.”

Councillor Craig Rimmer who also represents Pitsea South East, added: “Pitsea Bingo Hall has become a blight on the town centre, I have been pushing for action to be taken for some time.The owner needs to take responsibility and restore the building to its former glory.”

The notice, which will be considered at a council meeting in September, also means Basildon Council will have the power to carry out the clean up works itself and recover the costs from the owner.

A spokesperson from Basildon Council said: “There is an ongoing investigation regarding Pitsea Bingo Hall and any possible enforcement action will be presented to the council’s planning committee for consideration”.

The owner - widely understood to be Tilbury-based firm Hereigns Events Management Ltd - was contacted for comment a number of times but no response was received before the Echo went to press.