The owners of the Old Falcon Hotel in St Neots have been prosecuted after failing to comply with a legal notice ordering them to carry out repairs to the historic building.

Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) served notice on Tower View Properties Ltd, of Swavesey, last November due to "long-running concerns about the deteriorating condition" of the former hotel in Market Square. The company was ordered to complete the work, which included repairing windows and redecorating the exterior of the building before a May 17 deadline this year.

On September 23, Tower View Properties Ltd appeared at Peterborough Magistrates' Court and pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the Section 215 Notice.

Councillor Doug Dew, executive member for strategic planning and housing at HDC, said: "The council will not tolerate important buildings being left to deteriorate and I am delighted that in the absence of any action or progress from the owner, a successful prosecution has been secured. We have been patient, but now expect real progress to be made and for the owner to meet their promise of action within the next two months. The council still hopes to work with the owner to ensure that the building will once again become an exciting part of the Market Square, and to secure a proper and sensitive reuse of the buildings."

St Neots councillor, Roger Harrison, who is also HDC's executive member for economic development, added: "This is one of the oldest buildings in St Neots and its current appearance detracts from the building itself and the wider Market Square. Local retailers and businesses have been doing good work to create a successful and vibrant café quarter here, and I am pleased that the Old Falcon should now be smartened up and can once again add positively to the town and the council's aspirations for a thriving local economy."

The company bought the hotel 10 years ago, but its plan to renovate the listed building hit the buffers when a planning application, which included land at the rear of the property in a conservation area, was refused.

The Hunts Post contacted Dennis Whitfield, a director of the company, but he did not want to make any comment on the court case or discuss his plans for the Old Falcon. However, he has previously told The Hunts Post that his plans have been "thwarted all the way along" by HDC planners.

"If they could only agree to some reasonable proposals of what we could do with the building then I would have been very happy to have not left it in the state it is," he told the newspaper last November.

Tower View Properties Ltd was fined £655, plus costs, totalling £2,335.65.