Friday, 24 February 2012

Coral-Coomes bow to pressure over flats

The Ladywell Village improvement Group’s long-running campaign to force Coral-Coomes to renovate the landmark double fronted flat above the Coral betting shop at 228-230 Algernon Rd might soon bear fruit.
Inspired by the recent Channel 4 programme – Phil Spencer’s Empty Homes Giveaway – which featured LVIG’s campaign to bring the flats back into use, Nick Long, Lewisham’s empty homes officer, has been putting pressure on Coral-Coomes to renovate the properties.
Earlier this year he applied to the residential property tribunal for an interim empty dwelling management order which could be used to force Coomes to repair and let the property.
But this week Coomes property manager Ashley Hall met Mr Long and indicated the bookmaker was now looking at improving the flats above three betting shops in the borough -  228-230 Algernon Rd,  347-349 Lee High Road, and 357 Sydenham Rd.
Mr Hall indicated Coomes would start work shortly on the six flats above their Lee High Rd shop.. Once completed, rental income from these flats will be used to renovate Corals on the corner of Algernon Rd. A builder is understood to be inspecting the long neglected flat this month.
The large flat is in a poor condition, with broken windows, peeling paint, and a deteriorating roof. It has long been seen by the local community as a sad waste of a family home at a time of acute housing shortage in London. It has been an eyesore on the high street for more than 10 years but Coral-Coomes had always refused to take responsibility for renovating the property.
But Coomes hs now told Mr Long that they have taken a strategic decision to rationalise  the ownership and control of their property portfolio across south east London to generate capital and maximise potential rental income.
 They are reducing the number of shops they own from 49 to 32 because of the tough competition they are now facing from on line betting and a growing number of high street competitors.
Mr Long said that as soon as Coomes confirm the undertakings they have given to the council and builders start work he will adjourn his case before the residential property tribunal  to give the bookmaker time to complete the projects and bring the dwellings back into occupation. 
As Mr Long said: “These are early days but it is encouraging”.
Coomes' about turn on these properties shows that determined action by the local community can force change. LVIG hopes Coomes will now move quickly in 2012 to bring this landmark property back into full and proper use. TonyM


Geoffrey said...

That's certainly good news, but a pity they are not starting immediately.
I see that the Mason's building is for sale at about £850k, while the ground floor flat (once a deli then signmakers then empty) is to let for £925pcm. A selling point is that it's "1 min from Ladywell station".

Geoffrey said...

The ground floor flat was on the market for only a couple of weeks before it was let! And I was in error about the Mason's building price - it's nearer £825k. With a guaranteed income from the flats above and to the side, is this a bargain?

Anonymous said...

have been past these flats last night on the bus 20/8/2013. STILL
an eyesore .....