A BUILDING left as an eyesore after a suspected arson attack three years ago looks set to be brought back into use.
Equity House, in Equity Street, Darwen, has been sold at auction after being taken over by the council because its owner could not be traced.
Now workmen are busy gutting the inside of the derelict property in a bid to restore it.
The Lancashire Telegraph understands that once the refurbishment is completed it will be used for housing.
Sunnyhurst councillor Dave Smith was delighted work had begun. He said: “It has been a mess now for a few years. There have been some lads on the site and they are doing a really good job and working very hard.
“I will keep residents informed as things move along but there should be a planning application soon, I assume for housing.”
After the fire in 2010, taxpayers had to foot the bill for making the building safe and for fencing. At that time, the owner, who was liable for the costs of making it safe, was thought to be living in America.
Blackburn with Darwen executive member for resources Coun Andy Kay said: “We welcome the sale of Equity House as it has allowed the council to recoup its incurred costs. The fire made the property unsafe and the council took measures to make the property secure for its neighbours.
“The cost of this was billed to the previous owner, but as they did not come forward, despite many attempts to contact them, we took the legal decision to sell the property.
“The property sold at auction for more than £30,000 and the council’s debts will be repaid from this sum.
“We hope the new owner will now restore this property to its former glory and make the area pleasant once again.”