SWINDON Council will take Mechanics’ Institute owner Mathew Singh to court in a bid to help save the Grade II* listed building.

The council waded into the long-running row after Mr Singh failed to satisfy them with the schedule of urgent works that need doing to the dilapidated building in the town centre.

They will undertake the work, as directed in the Urgent Works Notice given to Mr Singh by the Health and Safety Executive, and recover the cost from the owner when the work is completed.

However, when the council tried to get into the building yesterday morning to start the work, they found it was padlocked and could not get through to the site manager despite several calls.

A spokesman for Swindon Council said: “The owner was served with an Urgent Works Notice last December and was given until April 19 to give a clear, credible schedule of work he intended to carry out, along with proof that he had instructed an approved contractor to do it.

“Just before the deadline on April 19 the owner presented the council with information about the Urgent Works.

“After being examined in detail, it did not give the council or the Health and Safety Executive reassurance that the work would have been done to the required standard.

“This is why the council will now do the work itself and then seek to recover the cost from the owner.

“The council has secured a grant of £200,000 from English Heritage towards the cost of the repairs.

“The council attempted to gain access to the Mechanics’ Institute yesterday morning to carry out Urgent Works, which are intended to ensure the building is weathertight, and to stop it from deteriorating further.

“The owner has been kept fully informed at every step, and knew that the council had requested access at 9.30am yesterday.

“However, the site was padlocked and no-one was there. Telephone calls to the site manager, using the number displayed at the site, were not answered.

“The owner is required to give the council access to the property, and we will now apply to the court for a warrant.”

Mr Singh was unavailable for comment.