A COUNCILLOR is trying to contact owners of properties in The Homend in an attempt to get them to carry out maintenance work.

Coun Barry Ashton was responding to comments made by a visitor to the town, who complained that Ledbury was being let down by a number of premises on the Homend.

The issue is seen as particularly important with Britain in Bloom judging day looming on July 27 and the national event after that.

Kathleen Stansfield, of Birkenhead, said, in a letter to the Reporter, that it was sad to have what she described as a "gem" blighted by a group of "shabby, near derelict" properties in the Homend.

"Surely some attention could be paid to this site?" she went on. "If I lived in Ledbury, I would make representation until something was done."

Coun Ashton this week responded by agreeing to take a look at the properties.

"The trouble is, we have very little control over private property, unless it is a health and safety matter," he said.

He added that the situation was not desirable and he would ask the owners if anything could be done. He said he did not see the point of "naming and shaming".

He said even whitewashing windows or hanging attractive pictures in the windows of empty premises would help make an improvement to the look of the area.

He added: "There are one of two premises up there which are a bit tatty, but it is the result of a bit of a recession for small businesses."

Chris Clarke, the Ledbury in Bloom campaign secretary, welcomed Coun Ashton's involvement in trying to get the Homend tidied up.

She said: "Coun Ashton's help is very welcome. It's difficult to track the owners of these properties and you have to be careful in case you trespass.

"But it's such a shame, because these buildings are in the centre of Ledbury. We'll have to guide the judges' eyes away, although I don't think it will affect our chances."