Friday, February 27, 2009

Tiverton House

Last night at Full Council I again questioned the Council's policy towards Tiverton House, and urged the Council to come up with an alternative plan should they not be able to sell the property to bring it back into residential use.

The Lib Dem Executive Councillor for housing confirmed the scandalous situation that the property has now been vacant for 14 months, and refused to give any assurances that they would give up plans to sell it off, claiming they were again in negotiations with a purchaser. How are we supposed to pressurise owners in the private sector of empty buildings like flats above the Perne Road shops if the Council holds empty property like this?

I'm looking in to where they are with sales negotiations, to try and find out what any prospective new owners propose to do with the building.


Anonymous said...

What do you propose be done with the building. And have you found out who has taken an interest in it?

Chris Howell said...

Hi Anonymous,

I would like to see the original building or redevelopment on the site back in residential use in a way that would fit in with a relatively quiet residential area, e.g. sheltered housing for the elderly. I would be considerably less keen on student accommodation.

The Council took the decision to sell the property on the open market, so are just trying to get the best price without considering the potential uses - they need the money to refurbish sheltered accommodation elsewhere in the City. Last time there were various bidders, but they fell through due to financing problems when the money markets were very volatile - I don't know yet what the bidder(s) this time are proposing, but most are likely to need to put in planning applications which will allow some scrutiny.


Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,
I am living very close to the Tiverton House and find this area is definitely not fit for student accommodation as most of the residents around are elderlys. I think the City council should not mix the two extreme age groups in such a well established tranquil area. I an strongly against the proposal for student accommodation.

Chris Howell said...

Anonymous April 3rd - you sum up the position extremely well. I wrote to the Council in December saying:

"I understand from our previous discussions one of the bidders was proposing student accommodation on this site. Just to put on record, I would like express how unhappy I would be with that outcome, and urge the Council to consider bids with more appropriate usage for the area if they are of similar value to the Council, or at least let me know in advance if the Council intends to proceed with a bidder who is proposing that usage so I can lobby the relevant Executive Councillors."

But this was ignored because the mandate from the Executive Councillor was so clear that it needed to be sold on best commercial terms, they weren't prepared to consider any conditions on the sale with regard to usage. This was a political decision that really is down to the Lib Dems running the Council.