The Environment Agency has said it is ‘monitoring’ a derelict office block in the heart of town after allegations it is ‘leaking oil into a nature reserve’.

Babbage House, located on Anton Mill Road, was formerly a computing hub for Lloyds TSB, but has been vacant for some time. Residents and councillors have raised concerns that the site is 'leaking oil' into the streams feeding the Rooksbury Mill nature reserve, and called on the Environment Agency to take action.

In a statement to the Advertiser, an Environment Agency spokesperson said: “We are aware of an ongoing issue with oil intermittently leaking from a disused office building on Anton Mill Lane.

“We instructed the building owners to place booms in the stream to trap any oil, and are continuing to monitor the situation to ensure they take all appropriate actions to minimise risk to the environment.

“If you see pollution in our rivers or elsewhere, please call the Environment Agency immediately on 0800 80 70 60.”

Babbage House was for many years a computing suite for Lloyds TSB, but after falling into disuse, it was sold, with the current owners, Robert Cort & Son (Properties) Ltd, buying the property to £1.89 million in 2005.

Attempts have been made to convert the site into housing and overturn covenants restricting it to business use, but are yet to be successful.

The former mayor of Andover, Councillor Richard Rowles, raised concerns over the leaks, and previously told the Advertiser that the site needed to be brought back into use to prevent further damage.

The owners of the building have said that the site is subject to “relentless vandalism”, and said that they want to progress a planning application to demolish the site “as quickly as possible”.

They deny that the oil is “conclusively” from their building, but complied with the Environment Agency’s request to fund booms in the water. The agency continues to monitor the site for changes, and protect water quality in Andover’s waterways.