A CABINET member has fired a warning shot to the owners of Hereford's biggest eyesore - sort it out or we'll take action.

Herefordshire Council's Cabinet this afternoon approved plans which it hopes will bring an end to the carcass of the fire-damaged building in High Town which has lain almost untouched for more than five years.

Members unanimously backed a proposal which will see them issue a compulsory purchase order on the owners should there be no sign of restoration work by the end of July.

Cllr Philip Price told Cabinet at Hereford Shirehall: "This is about sending out the signal that we are not waiting any longer; get on with it.

"We are trying to find a solution in the shortest possible time. We are doing everything we can."

The site, which housed the River Island and Card Factory shops and backed onto the Booth Hall pub, was gutted following the early morning fire back in October 2010, one of the county's worst.

Public anger over the lack of progress has grown ever since.

The authority says “increasing pressure from the public and media” prompted it into forcing former owners Omaha Properties to ensure the building was stabilised.

However, before this could be carried out, Omaha went into liquidation in 2015, with the receivers, who took over ownership, telling the council they were not in a position to carry out work.

The council says the enforcement notice was dropped as it was not viable to take action against an insolvent company.

But if the receiver fails to sell the building over the coming months to a party with plans to restore the building, the council may then pursue the option to buy.

“It’s been a long and arduous journey to get to this stage," added Cllr Price.

"When the previous owners went into receivership it left us with limited powers to enforce the restoration of the building.

"The restoration of the building is key to the future successful refurbishment of High Town and the attractiveness of High Town as a shopping destination.”

Historic England has recently relaxed many of the listed building constraints, allowing the front to be dismantled and rebuilt, as long as would-be developers keep as much “historic fabric” as possible.

Cllr Price warned, however, that any CPO could take up to 18 months, although his colleague, Cllr Harry Bramer, said he didn't think it would come to that.

"I think it'll be snapped up and taken off the market quite quickly," he said.