The Ladywell Assembly last night featured an information session with council officer Nick Long about bringing empty properties back into use – the powers the council has to deal with them and an update on empty properties in the ward that they are dealing with.
In addition to the Nightwatch building on Ladywell Road (fingers crossed) and the empty flats above Corals on the corner with Algernon Road (no sign of concern or interest, to put it mildly, by the owners, apparently another betting shop chain) there was some welcome news about progress with 63 Loampit Hill. This goes back several years – the council notice regarding the state of the roof was served in May 2005, long after it had actually become an issue, and the council had to intervene and eventually repair the roof at their own cost in November 2007. Following recent discussions the relatives of the deceased owner have offered to pay a proportion of the amount they owe the council upfront pending further decisions they would make about the property at some stage in the future. The council decided to insist on the full amount (just over £20,000 plus interest) being paid within 28 days. It is expected that the family is going to appeal against this. If the appeal was upheld, the saga would continue. If the appeal was not upheld, the council could take possession of the building and dispose of it at auction and reclaim the cost incurred in this way. Let's hope this is not another case of one step forward one step back.