Wednesday 8 November 2017

Brent to compulsorily purchase Kenton property - more to come?

Residents of Brent will be aware of the number of empty residential properties in the borough and many voices have been raised urging the council to act to bring them back into use for family accommodation.
The Cabinet on Monday LINK will be asked to approve the compulsory purchase of a residential property in Kenton which has a long history of neglect and is currently squatted. The Council claim that the owner has made no determined and ongoing effort to bring the property back into use.
One might expect the Council if the CPO is successful to refurbish the house and add it to the stock of council housing. However, they appear to expect to hand it over to the private sector: ‘Acquisition by the Council and the subsequent sale and refurbishment will achieve a quantitative and qualitative housing gain.’ This doesn't seem to fit with the justification for the CPO in the report which points to the shortage of social housing while the sale and refurbishment will probably add to the over-priced private rental sector:

·      There is a shortage of social housing creating a greater dependency on the private rented sector and increasing the need for the council to make the most of the empty homes throughout the borough. Empty homes are critical in Brent, we are responding to complex needs for housing and working towards increasing this supply by returning empty dwellings to use. 

·      Brent has acute housing pressure, there are over 19,000 households currently on the housing register.
·      Brent has a culturally diverse population and needs a variety of types of homes – for rent and sale, for single people and for families with children. 

·      Current and future need for homes prompts us to make better use of all our existing housing resources, which include empty properties. 

·      Council tax records show that there are 1259 empty properties within the borough of which 859 properties have been empty for 6 months or more. 

·       Empty properties have a significant contribution to make in Brent’s development of a sustainable community, returning them to use helps to increase the housing 
 supply to meet our housing needs, improves the condition of the area and brings increased revenue through council tax. An empty property is a wasted resource especially when there is a need for housing and a shortage of supply

An additional document makes clear that there are risks and costs attached to CPOs where if the issue goes to a public enquiry additional costs of up to £55,000 beyond the purchase price could be incurred. LINK


Sandro said...

If the so called 'owner' actually owns the freehold property then I can't see how the council can do a CPO. CPO's are common for certain things but to implement one so as to house people waiting for a place to live in Brent I think personally is bang out of order. Move them onto another Borough to deal with thank you very much! We're already crammed in Brent as it is!

Anonymous said...

Surely the property in Brent that had been crying out to have a CPO put on it for the last 20 years has been UNISYS House. This property has lain unused for over 20 years (probably 30 years)and has been not surprisingly been the target of vandalism. The owners wouldn't even grant a lease or sale to Brent Council for a very much needed secondary school in the area and residential housing (again much needed at the time). Instead of which the ARK academy was built on green playing fields at Wembley Park with the kids of Stonebridge and St Raphaels filling up the buses at peak time to get there instead of having a Secondary school on their doorstep!