Smell claim six months after Galston Co-op closure

image source, Google
image captionThe Co-op store was closed on 5 February after concerns about the building's structural integrity

A council has denied claims that rotting stock from a food store is causing an environmental "nuisance".

It follows the sudden closure of Galston Co-op in East Ayrshire on 5 February over concerns about the building's structural integrity.

Since then, the store's shelves have remained untouched because the building was deemed too unsafe to enter.

East Ayrshire Council said concerns over the smell had been investigated and no action was necessary.

The store on Cross Street, which also served as a Post Office, has remained out of bounds after pieces of masonry reportedly fell from the building.

'Community complaints'

However, locals have taken to social media to complain about the smell from the store and the waste of food, with some suggesting it should have been donated to local food banks.

Sally Cogley, who was elected as a councillor for the Rubbish Party in May, was one of those who inspected the store last week.

She told the BBC Scotland news website: "It was extremely hot because the heating had been on since February. There was no actual evidence of bluebottles or rats. It just smelt like a store that was too hot and in a bad state of repair.

"The smell was extremely bad. I could smell it outside and I can understand why the residents were concerned. The shop had been abandoned since February and it was full of frozen foods, chilled foods and groceries."

She said she believed there had been a breakdown in communication and the store should have been cleared sooner, but said a plan was now in place to deal with it.

East Ayrshire Council denied there was an issue with smell and said that work had been agreed to clear and demolish the site over the next three weeks.

A spokeswoman said the site had remained untouched as a matter of necessity.

Demolition work

She said: "Community complaints regarding environmental health concerns have been investigated by the environmental health team and confirmed that no statutory nuisance was present, and as such, no enforcement action was necessary, or indeed possible.

"Access was provided by the Co-op to the store on 20 July to allow us and our demolition contractors to assess the building.

"The conditions within the store were reviewed and a safe system of work was subsequently agreed by the specialist contractors to allow the store to be cleared."

The spokeswoman added: "The demolition will be a complex piece of work, with the primary concern being public and contractor safety at all times."

A Co-op spokeswoman confirmed that the building had only just been declared safe to enter.

She said: "Previously, we were not allowed entry due to safety concerns but work has now begun to clear the site safely and securely.

"This will be completed as quickly as possible, in line with plans agreed with the council."