Regular readers of this blog will know that we've been pushing for some time for action to bring the empty shops along Ladywell Road back into use. Well, fingers crossed, our persistant nagging, together with the invaluable work of LVIG over the last year in raising the profile of Ladywell Road, and the scrutiny work my committee carried out into how the Council deals with empty properties, may have resulted in some progress at long last.
One of the properties that was causing particular concern was 46 Ladywell Road, the former 'Nightwatch' shop, which has been in a poor state for many years, with a pigeon infestation due to a hole in the roof and a very dilapidated shop front. After a number of attempts the Council made contact with the owner and a notice was served to repair the property or the Council would carry out the works in default and place a charge on the property. Given the cost and scale of the repair works required, the owner has opted to sell.
The property has recently been placed with King Sturge and is likely to be auctioned on 7th October. Anyone interested in viewing the property should in the first instance contact Felix Riggs at the Blackheath branch on 020 70875327.
It needs someone with a fair amount of money to invest in repairing it as it's in a pretty poor state, but I'm told that quite a few people have already shown interest. (NB: the residents of Ladywell would really, really like a shop selling decent fresh food please, or maybe a dentist, not a fried chicken place, money transfer shop or betting shop please!)
The second property that has been empty an awfully long time is the 'Snack Bar' shop at 40 Ladywell Road, next door to Masons. Lewisham's empty homes officer has now made contact with the owners of this property, who apparently are also keen to sell. If you're interested, the best way to contact them is in writing to 40 Ladywell Road.
Meanwhile members of LVIG have been working hard to try and find a premises to open a community shop. There are looking either for a landlord willing to let their premises on favourable terms for the first few months, while the business gets established, or alternatively, a landlord willing to consider a Meanwhile use, until they find someone to let the unit at market rate. There has been a lot of talk locally and nationally about encouraging shop owners to let community groups etc rent their shops until the economy picks up and other businesses come along, and LVIG are busy putting a plan together in the hopes of being able to pilot such a scheme locally.
63a Loampit Hill: the long-running saga with this empty property continues. The Council is pursuing legal action to recover its costs on this building (around £22,000) and to bring it back into use. The previous owner died intestate and all attempts to contact his estate had failed, but since Council legal proceedings commenced, there have been signs of someone starting to clear the premises . . .