VULNERABLE teenagers have been sleeping on the site of a former confectionery factory earmarked for a new supermarket, council enforcement officers say.

Aldi has urged BCP Council planners to give it certainty by making a decision on its application for the Parrs site in Alder Road, Poole, having submitted its proposals 18 months ago. It comes after the German discount chain was warned by officers it was at risk of “formal action” due to the poor condition of the land.

“The vacant site is attracting youngsters and urban explorers which has resulted in significant vandalism and graffiti; allegations of drug taking/dealing; and young, vulnerable teenagers sleeping on the premises,” council enforcement manager Andy Dearing said.

His letter, sent at the end of July, said “asbestos-type” material alongside hanging cable and broken plumbing had been found on a visit.

“I understand you are in negotiation with planners to redevelop the site and whilst these may be at a fairly advanced stage, planning permission has yet to be granted,” it added. “Consequently, the council has well-founded concerns regarding unauthorised access and criminal activity associated with your land.”

In response, Aldi said it was “committed” to making sure the site was secured and employed a contractor to repair the boundary fence.

But in the July 30 letter it asked for the council to speed up the “regrettably slow and protracted” planning process.

Property director Lee McCandless said demolition of buildings on the site would cost more than £175,000 and that it was relying on a decision on its application.

Earlier this month Aldi said it was “disappointed” by the council’s pace and said it would withdraw its plans if the process was delayed further.

“We would like to thank local residents for the extremely positive response we have received so far and remain keen to proactively engage with residents and stakeholders prior to the determination of the application,” a spokesman for the firm said.

“We’re hopeful that BCP Council is able to determine the application very soon to ensure we’re able to deliver a high quality discount community food store for local residents while also preventing further instances of anti-social behaviour.”

Council planning manager Doug Evans said the application was still being assessed but said it would be put before the planning committee for a decision “in the near future”.