More deaths and injuries will occur at the former Torrington creamery site unless it is made safe, residents have warned.
Two people have taken their own lives at the former Taddiport dairy in recent years and at the start of November a 15-year-old boy fell and had to be taken to hospital with a serious cut to his leg.
Planning permission was granted in June 2017 for 149 houses on the site plus retail and business units, but since then the process has ground to a halt.
The derelict creamery has become a magnet for young people and anti-social behaviour, much to the concern of nearby residents who fear more lives will be lost.
Anne and Chris Tattersall, in a June letter to town, district councillors and police, said they were becoming increasingly worried about the level of activity at the site and had been first on scene at the last fatality there.
Youngsters regularly climbed around the roof of the building most evenings and at weekends, with shouting and screaming into the early hours.
Police and the fire service have been called on numerous occasions.
In another letter sent this month, the couple said there had been a second life lost over the summer, plus they had to take a 12 and a 15-year-old boy to their own home to treat the older one until paramedics could take him to hospital.
The planning permission granted in 2017 was on the condition the buildings were demolished before development began, but the site is a hodgepodge of four applications under the banner of owner International Property Consultants Ltd.
Mrs Tattersall is calling on Torridge District Council as the planning authority to ensure the site is secure and to enforce this on the owner if necessary.
She said: “I refuse to be side tracked any longer by being told by TDC and other councillors that there is currently a new application being processed.
“These planning applications should not take precedence over a life and this is exactly what is currently happening. Regardless of any on-going planning application, there is a constant daily risk of loss of life.”
Torridge Sector Inspector Shaun Kenneally said they were getting increasing calls about the site from a concerned public.
He said: “Quite rightly they are concerned people are accessing buildings that are unsafe and hazardous.
“My officers are regularly attending in an effort to deter people from entering or requesting they leave when found inside, but this is having limited effect.
“Civil trespass is not an offence for which the police have legal powers, but we are attending due to the nature of the site in order to prevent harm to those that decide to enter buildings. I would add that in adopting this position it is putting officers in danger also.
“The repeated demand on the police coupled with the inadequate security provision is something I have raised with the local authority and I would hope a resolution can be found swiftly to prevent any further incidents or harm.”
Torrington mayor, Councillor Keeley Allin, added: “The town council is very concerned about the ongoing situation at the dairy site.
“We would hope that all necessary measures are taken to secure the buildings and that appropriate development of this area happens as soon as possible.”
TDC planning manager Shaun Harrington said: “There have been a number of planning applications for this site over the years but this is a challenging location given the existing structure to be removed as well as other on-site constraints.
“We have been working closely with the current owners over the last 18 months which has resulted in four planning applications coming forward which seek to discharge conditions relating to an earlier grant of planning permission and allow the comprehensive re-development of the site subject to the granting of the permissions.
“There is a genuine wish by all parties to resolve the issues surrounding the site and bring forward a comprehensive re-development to secure a positive future for the site and locality.”
Janet Williams, public health and housing manager, said: “The site poses significant risks to those accessing buildings, not only to themselves but also to the emergency services who are frequently called to attend unlawful accessing of the site. We would urge people to be responsible and stay away, our emergency services are particularly stretched at the present time and the actions of a small minority is not helping.
“The owner of the site is ultimately responsible for site security and safety and it is clear from the barriers and signage in place that the site should not be accessed.”