THERE are growing concerns over crime and antisocial behaviour at a derelict Abingdon hotel, described as 'a monstrous eyesore' which has been empty for more than six years.

The leaseholder of the Upper Reaches Hotel, Contemporary Hotels, closed the Thames-side building in 2015 after what it described as a prolonged period of losses. Since then, people living and working in the area say they have had to call the police up to three times a week to deal with antisocial behaviour.

Hester Hand, chair of the Friends of Abingdon Civic Society, said the Upper Reaches site had become an "absolute nightmare" and called on Vale of White Horse District Council to intervene, whether via planning legislation or other means, to require the leaseholders to deal with its disrepair.

Mrs Hand said: “It is the gateway to the town. The district council are supposed to be promoting the town and encouraging people to come here and making it a nice place for us to live.”

Nearby householder Gwyneth Lewis, who represents the local residents’ association, said: “We residents have been living here for six and a half years with this monstrous eyesore that is getting worse, decaying and causing a whole pile of problems.”

The derelict building has been listed on so-called urban explorer's website 28 Days Later, which encourages people to trespass in potentially dangerous abandoned sites.

Mrs Lewis believes this has contributed to vandalism including a gas leak, pulled cables and people accessing the roof and disturbing neighbours.

The Abingdon Abbey Buildings Trust owns and manages the historic buildings immediately adjacent to the site. Chairman Bryan Brown said he was concerned about the potential risk the derelict building poses to the ancient Grade I-listed Abbey site.

Together with the Friends of Abingdon Civic Society, Mr Bown wrote to the district council to take action on the site. The group has said that in response to the letter the council said it would issue a community protection notice against the leaseholder to make the site safer, but believe this has not happened yet.

A Vale of White Horse spokesperson said: “The Upper Reaches site is the responsibility of the long leaseholder Contemporary Hotels.

"We have been exploring what we can do to ensure they address the recent incidents of vandalism and antisocial behaviour. Our community safety team is working with the neighbourhood policing team to see if other enforcement tools can be used to address the issues and help reassure local residents.

"This work also involves engaging with local youth service providers to see if they can help provide positive interventions to try and stop the antisocial behaviour. We have also asked the leaseholder for a meeting to discuss these issues and their long-term plans for the site.”