A community leader has called for an "eyesore" pub that has failed to sell at auction three times in the last five months to be demolished as it is a "magnet for anti-social behaviour". 

The derelict site of The Vixen pub in Strasbourg Square, Haverhill, was listed for sale with Auction House in May and had a guide price of £900,000. 

Having failed to sell the pub, formerly known as The Scarlet Pimpernell, was then advertised for auction again at £650,000 in August, but went unsold.

And in September it was listed for a third time with a guide price of £450,000, but the reserve price was not met – meaning it did not sell again. 

East Anglian Daily Times: The Vixen, formerly known as The Scarlet PimpernellThe Vixen, formerly known as The Scarlet Pimpernell (Image: Auction House London)

John Burns, who represents Haverhill East on the town council, said he believes the guide prices during all three recent auctions have put off buyers. 

"The land is only worth what a developer can build on it making a normal 25% profit," said Mr Burns.

"The cost of the infrastructure changes plus potentially demolishing the building will add considerably to the costs.

"The planning laws have also since changed since the approval was given with minimum space standards now a mandatory requirement so the number of units that can be built will be much lower especially to respect the existing street view and massing.

"In my view the building should be demolished now as it is a magnet for anti-social behaviour, especially as the security hoarding is failing."

East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr John BurnsCllr John Burns (Image: Haverhill Town Council)

Mr Burns said he has asked West Suffolk Council, which owns the car parking space at the site, to take action many times.

"I have even pushed for WSC Barley Homes subsidiary to take it on, but I am not convinced they are having any serious discussions with the receivers over the price," he said.

"I do wonder if this would be acceptable elsewhere in west Suffolk.

"What we want is a well redeveloped affordable accommodation site, cognisant of the requirement for parking provision for existing businesses and residents, with the potential for one or two small retail units suitable to supply non-food services to the local community." 

Pat Hanlon, who also represents Haverhill East on the town council, said: "This derelict site has been an eyesore for a number of years and it is a blight in the middle of a wonderful estate that the past private owners let it get into."

East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr Pat HanlonCllr Pat Hanlon (Image: Haverhill Town Council)

Mr Hanlon said he has spoken to West Suffolk Council's new housing portfolio holder and the Barley Homes officer about the site.

"Obviously I would love Barley Homes on behalf of West Suffolk District Council to do something about the site but, like all councils, restrictions from government financing and high interest rates are making it very difficult for them," he added. 

Richard O’Driscoll, West Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for housing, said he was alerted to the situation by Mr Hanlon shortly after the May election, and visited the site with him and an officer. 

"What we witnessed was a dilapidated building that constitutes a significant eye sore and potentially carries other risks because of the poor quality of security on the site," he said.

"As a consequence, council enforcement officers were asked to investigate to ensure the site is made safe and secure.

"The council has also been asked to consider purchasing the site in order to reduce any further social and visual harm to the neighbourhood." 

Mr O'Driscoll said the council put a bid in for the site in 2019, which was rejected. 

"Any decision to invest or not in a site, is guided by careful consideration given that it is taxpayers money, and we would need to be sure that an economically viable scheme could be delivered bringing in income to support the day-to-day services that we provide," he said.

"The site is challenging, and we remain open to discussions with the owners of the site."