A COUPLE living next to a derelict hotel in Newquay are pleading with Cornwall Council to end their five-year "nightmare" by knocking it down.
Bill and Pat Shearer, of Pentire Avenue, say the Fistral Bay Hotel poses a serious fire risk as the site is rarely secure, meaning vandals and homeless people have easy access.
They told the Cornish Guardian that recent high winds had brought a new headache as debris constantly whirls around the site, crashing into their home and keeping them awake for nights on end.
Mr Shearer said: "With the onset of the winter gales we have been plunged into despair. Apart from the ever-present fire threat, the plastic pipes and rubbish crashing around the yard give us sleepless nights and the wind moaning and howling through the broken windows does the same. We daren't go out there sometimes as there are myriads of glass shards whirling around like daggers.
"We have endured this nightmare for the better part of five years.
"How much longer must decent people have to live like this?"
He said he had contacted the council repeatedly asking for the hotel to be demolished or better secured.
Local authorities can only order that a building be demolished if it is structurally unsafe and in danger of collapsing.
A spokeswoman for the council's public health and protection team said it had served "numerous enforcement notices" on the owners, under the Local Government Act, aimed at making the site safe.
She said: "When works have not been completed the council has undertaken works to ensure the building is secured against unauthorised access.
"During this time we have been made aware of these issues through complaints from the public, proactive monitoring of the site and through notifications from Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service.
"Our most recent involvement with this site was in September, when another enforcement notice was served on the owners and the building was rendered secure again."
Owners Helmsley Acceptance Ltd, based in York, were granted renewed permission last month to demolish the Fistral Bay and build a new six-storey, 87-room hotel in its place.
However, the plans remain in limbo after Helmsley boss Richard Peak said this week that the company is still struggling to sell the site to a hotelier in the current economic climate.
It had originally been earmarked for development by the now bankrupt Penpol Group, with Helmsley now attempting to recoup money loaned to the company.
Mr Peak said: "We are trying to recover as much of our money as possible. We are looking to sell the site but it's not the best time at the moment."