Call to bulldoze eyesore buildings

COUNCILS would be given increased powers to order the demolition of derelict buildings, under proposed legislation tabled in NSW Parliament by Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery.

Ms Hornery stood in front of the eyesore Star Hotel site in Newcastle as she made the announcement yesterday.

Under current NSW law, a council must wait until a building is considered dangerous before ordering its demolition.

The bill, which fulfils one of Ms Hornery's election promises, would allow the council to act quickly on the sort of eyesores that blight much of Newcastle's CBD.

The neglected Star Hotel has been closed for several years and a mortgagee for the owners is attempting to sell the site, which has approval for a 12-storey development.

In the next block, the former Jolly Roger hotel is one of the city's most rundown sites. The council has issued a notice to serve a demolition order, but the process is often lengthy.

The developer of a planned unit block at the Jolly Roger site has previously said demolition could begin within eight weeks of council approval.

Ms Hornery said the motivation for her bill was the saga of the former Salvation Army building at Wallsend.

The council ordered the building be demolished early last year after repeated requests for it to be boarded up.

"We shouldn't have to have buildings get to that stage," Ms Hornery said.

"I came to this point because I understood the frustration of council officers [who] couldn't really do much about it."

Newcastle councillor Sharon Claydon said the move would allow the council to clean-up parts of the CBD without years of legal wrangling.

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