Preston residents say they have run out of patience as ex-social club site is used as drug den

Residents are calling for a derelict Preston social club to be demolished following complaints it is attracting drug users.

Thursday, 4th June 2020, 5:55 am
Updated Thursday, 4th June 2020, 8:40 am

Locals are demanding site owners Preston Council take action and say that the former New Friargate Social Club on Maudland Bank has become an eyesore and is attracting anti-social behaviour.

They have even offered to buy the site to clean it up.

The club, which has been empty for several years, has been vandalised and has smashed windows and broken doors. Local residents were horrified to discover discarded syringes at its entrance.

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Local residents say the New Friargate Social Club on Maudland Bank in Preston is being used by drug abusers

Spokesman Girish Desai said residents had now run out of patience after watching the site get repeatedly vandalised.

He said it was feared vermin were being attracted to the club, which at one time was well known as a local labour club.

Mr Desai, of Maudland Bank, said: “I’ve called local councillors so many times. The children’s park is right behind the club.

“If someone was looking at the needles outside it’s very dangerous. We have mentioned it so many times to the council and nothing is happening.”

Evidence of drug use at New Friargate Social Club on Maudland Bank in Preston

He said residents had decided the only solution might be to club together and buy the land, demolish the building and have a car park. He continued: “They could build six houses there.”

He added that there were concerns about more high-rise buildings going up.

The site has outline planning permission for four-storey student accommodation.

The permission was granted in June 2018 for 142 student units by Preston City Council.

The Post tried to contact developers yesterday but had no reply by deadline.

While the club is derelict, the car park was, until recently, being used. Mr Desai said it had been closed off during the coronavirus lockdown.

Mr Desai continued: “It’s a mess. If you see the building it is completely ruined. It’s got bad. It was a really nice area... but the council they are not listening.”

The residents turned to Andy Pratt, chairman of Preston Conservative Association, for help.

Mr Pratt said: “The club is in considerable disrepair and can be entered from the back doors. The front door has a used syringe lying in the entrance.

"This cannot be right that these premises are openly being used for drug misuse and dangerous drug syringes are left lying around.

“As soon as I saw it I made sure it was reported to the environmental health department of Preston City Council.

“Surely something can be done to secure the property and prevent its use as an illegal drug den.”

Neil Fairhurst, deputy chief executive at Preston City Council, said: “Litter and anti-social behaviour at this site came to our attention during March.

“Officers attended to clear the debris and a request was made to the tenants to secure the premises with boarding up windows plus providing fencing and a gate to prevent access. A further request has been made to secure a porch area to limit access and reduce litter build-up.”

A spokeswoman for the council added: “The land is owned by Preston City Council but leased to the current tenants, who we shall not be naming at this time.”

Council leader Coun Matthew Brown said: “When it has been reported to us we’ve cleared it as quickly as we can.

“I’m very sorry any further issues are going on there and obviously I’ll take that forward as soon as possible. I’ll get it on to it straight away ...The difficulty is we clear it up and people come back pretty much the same day.”

He said the police would be alerted about the possible drug misuse and promised if residents reported any further problems when they saw them the council would “get it sorted.”

When asked about plans for the prime site near UCLan he said: “Even though it’s our land, it’s being developed by a third party.”