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SALTLEY: Is this Brum's worst eyesore; Local businessmen say derelict pub is a blight on the area.

Byline: By Andy Shipley

FED-UP traders in a bustling city street are having their businesses blighted by a derelict pub - a contender for Birmingham's worst eyesore. The former Tilt Hammer Inn stands at the gateway to Alum Rock Road in Saltley, a thriving centre of small shops and businesses.

But the pub has stood empty for at least six years and is now a haven for vandals and arsonists.

Now Alum Rock Road traders, including owner of Libra Furnishings of 16 years Mohammed Irfan, have had enough.

"It's an absolute eyesore and needs to be sorted out as quickly as possible," said Mr Irfan, aged 35.

"It's been empty for six or seven years and no-one seems to know who owns it. There was a rumour that a takeaway owner had bought it but we don't know if that's true.'

The pub has been daubed with graffiti and flyposters while windows have been smashed and fires set inside - causing the roof to collapse. A city council spokeswoman said the authority had brought enforcement action against the owners of the pub to make sure it poses no safety risk to the public.

She refused to name the owners but confirmed that no planning applications were currently being considered for the site.

"It's been attacked several times by vandals and is in a real state," said Mr Irfan. "Somebody needs to do something about it."

Clare Short, whose Ladywood constituency includes the pub, today joined the battle to get the site cleaned up and back in use.

"I've seen the state of it and I think it's a disgrace and drags the area down," said Ms Short. "I'll be writing to the city council's planning department to see what can be done

CAPTION(S):

HAVEN FOR VANDALS... The former Tilt Hammer Inn on Alum Rock Road, Saltley; ACTION PLEA... MP Clare Short has branded the pub a disgrace
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Nov 3, 2005
Words:316
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