Work to demolish part of an unsafe building in Barrow at risk of collapse has started – paving the way for it to be converted into apartments.

The former registry office in Abbey Road partially collapsed in May leading to its owner to fear for public safety.

Jack Cooksey, who bought the building at auction in January with the intention of developing it into 17 apartments, last month urged Barrow Borough Council to allow the demolition to go ahead after he raised concerns for its stability.

This week work has started with demolition experts from local firm Cliff Hindle removing part of the upper floors of the building.

"The council has been very accommodating," Mr Cooksey said.

"There are parts of the building which had to come down and we've been allowed to do that.

"The plan is to demolish as little of the building as is necessary so that hopefully we can retain part of the front facade."

After the partial collapse in May structural engineers warned the building is at ‘imminent risk of total collapse’ and advised that it must be demolished as soon as possible. 

As the building is within a conservation area consent to demolish it must be obtained from the council.

Mr Cooksey added: "Historic England visited the site last week and agreed that it was at risk of collapse and part of the building needed to be demolished.

"The structural engineers said there has been a defect in the internal part of the building for nine years and advised us to take it down to a safe level so it's no longer a risk to the public.”