Fuel giant comes under fire

PETROL giants Shell have come in for criticism over a derelict house next to a garage in Ipswich that has sat empty for more than two years.

PETROL giants Shell have come in for criticism over a derelict house next to a garage in Ipswich that has sat empty for more than two years.

The property, 345 Colchester Road, next to the Shell Heath garage, has been unoccupied since bailiffs kicked squatters out back in September 2006.

The house was being used as a drug den and around 1,000 needles were found by contractors tasked with clearing out the property.

At the time Shell UK Retail vowed to return the house to use but two years later it remains derelict.

Russell Harsant, councillor for Bixley, said he was angered by an apparent lack of activity in bringing the house back to use.

“They said their intention was that it should be used for residential purposes,” he said.

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“The fact that it is still empty after two years is not good enough. The people of Bixley and surrounding areas need better than that. There are plenty of people in Ipswich that need a roof over their head.”

Alex Shattock, head of property for Shell UK Retail, said the company is still actively looking to fill the house.

It is understood Shell was in negotiations about turning the property into a half-way house to help rehabilitate former prostitutes, although the agreement fell down over the length of lease.

Mr Shattock said: “We are endeavouring to find a user for the house but to no avail at the moment but we will continue to progress.

“If anyone has a potential user in mind, a charity, housing association, that would put it to proper use we will do our very best to try and accommodate them.

“It is not our intention to keep it empty.”