The abandoned China House restaurant in Preston is set to be demolished after eight years of vandalism and anti-social behavior

A Chinese restaurant in Preston that has been left in ruins for eight years could be demolished as developers seek to transform the plot.

The owners of China House in Aqueduct Street were forced to close in 2014 after they were stripped of their license. Since then, the building near the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has become a breeding ground for anti-social behavior with burglaries, fires and groups of young people hanging out in the area.

The problems with the building started with its previous owner. Wen Qaing Cai was convicted in 2015 by Preston Magistrates Court of four offences. Cai, then 35, of Preston Road, Chorley, pleaded guilty to failing to protect the health and safety of his employees and others, to failing to comply with a requirement for access to his restaurant’s cellar and to ensure that the gas work was carried out by an authorized person.

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An inspection of the vacant building revealed gas cylinders stored in the basement and a stove leaking gas. The old site quickly became the target of illegal dumping with dangerous consequences.

In April 2018, sheets of asbestos were dumped outside by dump trucks in the early morning. Months later, in July, dozens of police descended on the abandoned building and two men were arrested on suspicion of growing cannabis. Three years later, in 2021, a fire broke out inside the building that took hours to extinguish.

The Aqueduct Street building has been the target of vandalism and ASB for years

The building, before being a restaurant, was the Lime Kiln pub and now the whole site could be reduced to rubble if the developers get the green light to send in the bulldozers. A request sent by Kam Design on behalf of the owners of the building is to demolish the structure in response to ongoing issues.

The developers describe the building as “currently unoccupied and in disrepair due to anti-social behavior and vandalism that has taken place on the property”. The intention is to redevelop the site with a new building and proposals are expected to follow as part of a subsequent planning application.

If the plans are approved, demolition work will be scheduled within the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. It is expected that clearance of the site will be completed within two weeks.

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