Anston House on the Preston Road and the vacant adjacent site has been an eyesore on the City's main gateway for decades. A few years ago, following a change of ownership which briefly gave everyone hope that things were about to change, the situation was actually made much worse by the unauthorised and completely wanton felling of mature trees that still remained on the site. The owner was taken to court over this and fined £34,000 but promptly went bankrupt. The vacant site then began to be used as a builder's dumping yard and this has has only recently been cleared. No doubt vegetation will slowly begin to conceal some of the worst remaining scars but the prospect of anything happening to the derelict office building seems remote indeed if it is to be left to private enterprise.
There is now an epetition on the Council's website asking it to use its compulsory purchase powers. It will be presented at the General Council Meeting on 16 December. Whether or not one considers that Councils should get involved in the property development business the petition seems worth signing simply to draw attention to the level of concern that exists about this long-standing blot on Brighton's landscape.