Billingham House demolition starts after years as 'eyesore'

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Media captionThe derelict former ICI headquarters in Billingham that was dubbed an "eyesore".

Work to demolish an "eyesore" building on Teesside has started after a "hiccup" led to delays

Billingham House, the town's former ICI headquarters, has been empty for years and targeted by vandals.

A tracked excavator with a long extending arm was due to remove the structure in "bites" starting with the 120ft (36m) tower block on Monday.

But Stockton Council said technical problems delayed the operation for 24 hours.

Mike Smith, the council's cabinet member for regeneration and transport, said a "little bit of a hiccup" caused by equipment error had delayed the start of the demolition by one day.

Residents who had won a competition sounded a klaxon at 09:30 BST to signal the start of the work.

The demolition process is expected to continue until the end of the year.

Plans by owner Bizzy B Management to turn the building into flats fell through in 2007.

This led to concerns that as well as being an eyesore the derelict site posed a danger to the public, and Stockton Council began court action to allow demolition.

The case went to the Court of Appeal in May and the council won, paving the way for preparation work to clear the site.

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