Bailiffs visit former Store Twenty One premises in Fleetwood town centre

The former Store Twenty One premises in Fleetwood Town Centre have been empty since August 2016.
The former Store Twenty One premises in Fleetwood Town Centre have been empty since August 2016.
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An empty shop in Fleetwood town centre which has become a prominent eyesore has now been visited by council bailiffs.

Wyre Council has taken action against the owners of the former Store Twenty One premises, on Lord Street, over unpaid bills.

The council confirmed its staff had entered the building, which has untidy, cracked and boarded up windows, to seize property in order to recoup money owed by the landlords.

It is the latest in a string of negative incidents which have occurred at what is the largest shop unit in Fleetwood town centre - and was once the most prestigious - since it became empty in August 2016 when the most recent occupant, Store Twenty One, ceased trading.

Until 1986, the town’s cherished Marks and Spencer store was based there, but since then the building, like the high street itself, has gradually declined.

A Wyre Council spokesman said: “Bailiffs have been ordered to the former Store Twenty One premises in Fleetwood as a result of unpaid business rates since 2016.”

The council would not divulge how much money was owing on the bill and has not named the owners of the building.

However, it is understood the building is owned by a religious charity in Greater Manchester and not, as some suspected, Marks and Spencer.

The Wyre spokesman added the authority is also in contact with the owners about tidying the property up and making it safe - an issue which has become increasingly necessary after several incidents.

In March last year, a rusty sign on the front of the building crashed to the pavement.

In December last year, police discovered a huge cannabis factory with around 1,700 plants growing there, with the crop given a street value of around £3 million.

Two teenage Vietnamese men in the building were arrested but later found to be victims of modern slavery and released into safe accommodation.

At the end of May, the pavement outside the shop had to be cordoned off after a window fell out in high winds and glass smashed onto the pavement below.

And in June the pavement outside had to be cordoned off once more after a window blew open and it was feared it would be torn from its frame and crash onto the ground below.