A housing developer this week started to clear a pigeon-infested abandoned building in Trowbridge which has been derelict for more than 20 years.

The former engineering works building on Court Street has blighted the street and hundreds of pigeons, which have made the building their home, have caused problems for neighbouring business owners.

Ashford Homes, which has owned the site since January 6, vowed to demolish the building, a week after the problem site was highlighted in the Wiltshire Times.

The asbestos and pigeons must first be cleared from the site, a process which started on Monday, but is expected to take a month. A previous cull of pigeons at the site took place in April.

The building, which has been unused for two decades, was the home of Tremans Engineering Works and a video shop, but is now a run-down shell, with smashed windows, piles of pigeon mess, graffiti-stained walls and birds’ nests.

Ashford Homes said it would have been demolished sooner.

Stuart Morgan, design and planning director, said: “We would have liked to demolish the building straight away, however there is various red tape that the council require for this to be done, especially as Court Street is within a conservation area.

“Firstly, the existing planning permission and conservation area consent, which was due to expire, had to be extended, taking until March 29 to be approved.

“With these permissions in place, various conditions written in the planning permission had to be discharged by the council in order for demolition to take place, which included a very detailed photographic survey of the buildings.

“These conditions were discharged on May 23 and subsequently a demolition contractor has been employed.

“We are currently exploring the viability of various options with regard to the site’s future development.”

Neighbouring business owner Andrew Meadow, who runs printing firm AM Print and Copy, said: “This is a step in the right direction. They’ve got to clear it of asbestos, and of course the pigeons.”