Monday, April 19, 2010

Good news for Ladywell Road!

After 4 years of Ladywell ward councillors hassling officers, officers threatening legal action against the owner and lots of residents getting in touch with us asking 'What is happening with 46 Ladywell Road?' I am happy to confirm that it has now been sold. I met on site today with the new owners, Ladywell town centre manager, Lewisham's empty homes officer, representatives from LVIG (Ladywell Village Improvement Group) and one or two people keen to get in quick and pitch their business proposals to the new owners.

The new owners are very keen to crack on and renovate the whole building, with a view to letting the upstairs out as flats and the downstairs as a retail unit. Their architect came today and made some preliminary sketches. We talked about local residents being keen to see a good quality shop front, and an A1 retail use, rather than yet another take-away or betting shop. We also touched upon the point that the area is soon to fall under a conservation area. I welcome this fairly open approach by the new owners and hope that by having this meeting with various interested parties early on, the property can be brought back into use in a way that will benefit, rather than bring down, the local shopping parade. Time, of course, will tell, but that's the hope!

It's been a very long drawn out process to get this far, but credit is due to the empty homes officer and the environmental health officer for doggedly pursuing this, along with LVIG members for keeping the pressure up alongside ward councillors.

I look forward to seeing 46 Ladywell Road back in us and if re-elected on 6th May, 63a Loampit Hill, the other most problematic property in the ward, will remain firmly on our radar. Its fate currently resides with lawyers wrangling over probate issues, as I understand it, which seems to be an incredibly protracted and frustrating process.


Bill Ellson said...

63 Loampit Hill has been derelict for as long as I can remember.

The council has more than sufficient power under s215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to deal with the matter.

That there is supposedly some probate issue is an irrelevance. The council issues a notice and if remedial works are not carried out then the council does the work and imposes a local land charge on the property.

It is all very clearly set out in the government guidance:-

PDF, 521 kb , 36 pages

Geoffrey said...

The order designating the Ladywell Conservation Area has came into effect, along with the Article 4 Direction. This Direction was made on 13th April.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill
The Council has already carried out works to the tune of about £20kon 63a Loampit Vale under its enforcement powers and should now be taking legal action to force a sale to recoup its costs. This is officers' stated aim, but it is currently stuck with the legal team getting clarity over ownership. The Sustainable Development Committee, which I chaired, conducted a reviewlast year of how the Council deals with Empty Properties,and made a number of recommendations, some of which have been acted on, some haven't. May be of interest to you.

Geoffrey - thanks, I didn't know that had already come into effect - wonder if residents in the affected streets have been notified . . .

Geoffrey said...

The notices were in the News Shopper, but I haven't seen anything on lamp posts, or through letter boxes.
There was, however a leaflet through Algernon Road letter boxes explaining that the grey wheelie bin will be given a green lid (hey presto! a recycling wheelie) and a smaller capacity grey bin will be delivered; the green box can be kept for whatever purpose the householder wants.
So for our house (two flats) that's going to be two wheelies outside in the front yard/garden, instead of one (the green box is only put outside on the relevent day).
As single person flats do not generate much recycling, will the wheelie be emptied weekly, or when it has a reasonable amount in it (say 2,3 or 4 weeks)?

Bill Ellson said...

The purpose of the Land Registry is to provide clarity over ownership.

The registered proprietor who bought the property in 1977 happens to have died in 2007, but that is not a problem. The council simply serves the requisite notice on his executors (at his address if they have not been notified of another) and other interested parties.

In this case there is a bank who provided a mortgage and two persons who registered a caution on the title in 1981. Any lack of 'clarity over ownership' is only relevant to how any residue is distributed after firstly the council has recovered its expenditure from selling the property and secondly the mortgagee has had their slice.

Titles can be downloaded from between 7.00am and midnight Monday to Saturday for the princely sum of £4.00.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bill, that is pretty much what the Council is in the process of doing, but at a much slower pace than many of us would like!