FINAL preparations are underway to clear St John's House in Poole before it is demolished.

Plans to knock down the town centre building and build a block of flats was approved by Borough of Poole last year.

But nothing has happened at the site since and instead the derelict building in Serpentine Road has become a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

According to the council the delay in granting final permission to go ahead with the plans has been caused because of negotiations with the developers over the 106 agreement.

But now the council has confirmed that work has begun to clear the building of rubbish ahead of its demolition - although there is still no fixed date.

A desire to see the derelict building demolished has been amplified due to concerns over people entering the "potentially dangerous" block.

In February the council obtained a three-month court order effectively banning anyone from entering the building - be it rough sleepers or thrill-seeking young people.

It was the second court order the council had obtained to prevent entry to the building.

The order prohibited unauthorised entry into the property, and anyone ignoring the direction commits a criminal offence.

But in March two teenagers had a lucky escape after a fire started in the building while the pair were inside taking part in the urban explorer craze.

Multiple fire crews and paramedics were sent to the scene and the two teens had to be treated for smoke inhalation and shock at the scene.

St John’s House has been vacant for more than two years – ever since the borough’s transportation services moved back to the Civic Centre.

ESRG Developments Ltd want to demolish the building and the former HMRC offices nearby, to make way for the complex made up of a part 12-storey/part 14-storey block with 203 residential apartments.

This will offer 58 studio apartments, 92 one-bedroomed flats, 49 two-bedroomed and four three-bedroomed homes.

Plans also include a residents’ fitness suite, a 90-space car park, communal roof garden and bicycle storage.