WORK to improve a dilapidated listed cottage in a Herefordshire village is due to start "at any moment".

Residents in Bircher, near Leominster, say they are affronted daily by the derelict, roofless and deteriorating state of Knoll Cottage.

The cottage has been falling into disrepair for at least 25 years yet has been advertised for sale at £399,000.


The grade-II listed building was formerly an attractive thatched double dwelling, but has fallen into disrepair.

The group said villagers are constantly asked about the derelict building by visitors to the popular Home Farm Caravan Site opposite but they have no good news to report and the eyesore is an "embarrassment" in a county which promotes its attractive black and white buildings to tourists.

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Herefordshire Council is thought to be serving an emergency repairs notice, part-funded by English Heritage, and works to secure the structure are planned.

Draft minutes from Yarpole Group Parish Council's October 4 meeting said there was some positive news though.

The documents said ward councillor Sebastian Bowen, who is also Herefordshire Council's chairperson, had been told that "work will start on Knoll Cottage at any moment".


"It is hoped a purchaser can be found who will restore the property to its former glory," the document said.

When asked by locals, Herefordshire Council said it was not in a position to provide an update as the matter involved enforcement and legal teams.

It is understood that Herefordshire Council is in talks with the owner.

A spokesperson for the group of locals said: "Residents feel that Herefordshire Council has proved unable to effectively act to protect this listed building and ask why the legal process of compulsory purchase has not been enacted."