“I have owned 95 Goldhawk Road since the Doctors vacated the Grove Health Centre back in the late 1990s. I used to run an employment agency there.
I have had a long history of trying to engage with the Council to creating a better structure for my rundown site. In fact its been over 10 years since I commenced my application to create homes on the site. I have had nothing but obstacles put in my way from the council.
In 2013 permission was eventually granted (subject to Section 106) to build 9 flats with ground floor offices. In 2011 the council agreed to sell me a tiny piece of land and a narrow strip of the pavement that would greatly enhance my scheme. These pieces of land on their own is of no use to the council in fact it cost them money to maintain.
Although both the council and I have engaged our respective valuers to see what a fair price would be for the land (Lambeth Smith Hampton on the council’s part), the council has been dragging its feet ever since.
I have been told that the agreement to sell must be authorised by the Cabinet. Each time I am told that my case is to be discussed at a Cabinet meetings it has not happened.
Over the past months I have written to the Deputy Leader complaining, I have emailed Lisa Homan requesting her intervention and last Friday I tried to arrange a meeting to discuss this with the Leader. I am awaiting a response to the possibility of this meeting being granted.
I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating and stressful this has been.
I have offered an eye watering £450,000 for the pieces of land that can just about accommodate two park benches and the Council have been thinking about it for years. In the meantime my eye sore of a building remains undeveloped and is a magnet for rough sleepers.
The danger is I may have to withdraw that offer to purchase the land because my source of funding has been treading water for so long and is not available for much longer. I was told that the Leader could make a decision because of the situation but having spoken to the responsible officer was told that that avenue is blocked.”
The little scratch of land is of new use to anyone at present. The proposal would make the area more attractive as well as providing new homes and reducing council debt (and thus interest payments which is still where a big chunk of Council Tax goes).
I have asked for an explanation for the delay.