ENFORCEMENT notices have been served on the owner of fire-damaged buildings in High Town, Hereford, still not restored five years after being burnt out in one of the county’s biggest ever blazes.

Today, Herefordshire Council confirmed that notices had been served requiring the site owner to undertake works including the stabilising of facades, erecting hoardings across the full width of frontage and presenting a “pictorial representation” of the approved redevelopment scheme on that hoarding.

The owner has also been warned that the existing scaffolding licence will not be extended beyond the 80 day compliance notice which takes effect from December 2.

In the five years since the fire, one of affected stores, River Island, has opened up on the city’s Old Market development.

The council, in August, confirmed its intention to take enforcement action to take enforcement action against the owner of the properties, for restoration to a specified standard having held  extensive discussions to encourage repairs.

These talks brought about the protection of the historic elements of the buildings that will be retained in a new development scheme, which was backed by planners shortly after the fire.

However, no further fundamental rebuilding and restoration work has taken place since.

Outstanding insurance claims said to have stopped the work were settled in June last year.

The previous March, the Hereford Times reported that the council was not going take enforcement action to speed up re-development at the site.

Then, the council said enforcement would be “inappropriate” given apparent complexities over insurance issues.

The blaze that ripped through the former River Island and Card Factory stores in October 2010 was one of the biggest ever in the county.

The condition of the buildings – branded a “blot” on the city centre – was raised at the full council meeting in July by Cllr Brian Wilcox.

Specific concern was expressed over scaffolding and boarding.

Full council was told that officers had inspected the site and were satisfied that it was secure with the “historic elements” protected from wind and water.

Councillors heard at that time the option for enforcement action was open should talks not prove fruitful.