Friday, 9 December 2011

Pressure mounts on empty flats

Lewisham Council is to serve an Empty Dwelling Management Order notice on E Coomes, the bookmakers that owns the empty flat above the Coral betting shop on Algernon Rd. Nick Long, the council empty homes officer, said he had been “inspired” to take action now by the recent Channel Four programme (Phil Spencer’s Empy Homes Giveaway) which featured the Ladywell Village Improvement Group’s campaign to bring the flats back into use. The large double fronted flat, with its broken windows, peeling paint, and deteriorating roof, has long been seen as a sad waste of a potential family home at a time of acute housing shortage. It has also been an eyesore on the local High Street for more than 10 years. Coomes has been given until the New Year to respond to the notice. If it doesn’t the council can then apply for the EDMO which, if granted, would allow it the right of possession without affecting E Coomes’ ownership of the flats. The council could then enter the property and manage it back into use. Tony Major


Geoffrey said...

That's great news! But it does make you wonder why Councils are so slow off the mark, despite the efforts of officers. The interview with the Empty Homes' Officer in another area, who can only work one day a week in that role, surely points to a lack of will/finances for local authorities to pursue these landlords.
The renovations shown in the TV programme had all the fittings etc provided, possibly for free, by the long list of acknowledged firms, and the bulk of the labour was provided by building trades' trainees. Perhaps the Council could try to achieve the same type of sponsorship, although the flats in the programme were privately owned, rather than corporate.

Sue said...

That's good news!

Geoffrey said...

If the Council had to take over the flats to refurbish them, presumably a charge would be put on the property so that costs could be recouped. Coral's probably wouldn't like that, but presumably any rent collected would go to them, rather than the Council?