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Former dilapidated house ready to welcome families

Last Modified May 25, 2021

A former dilapidated Potters Bar property, which has been empty for more than 15 years, is now ready to be made available for private rent.

Hertsmere Borough Council successfully completed a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) in 2017 on the three-bedroom, semi-detached house in Strafford Gate after numerous attempts to engage with the relative of the deceased owner failed.

The order meant the house, which required underpinning work to the foundations and repairs to sort out water leaks and damp, became the property of the council March 2018.

Work started on the property in August 2020 with the council undertaking major structural, conversion and refurbishment work, as well as completely redecorating the property. The house has been transformed in to two separate properties - a three bedroom upstairs flat and a two bedroom downstairs flat.

Cllr Caroline Clapper, Portfolio Holder for Property and Economic Development, said: “The Strafford Gate property has been transformed from an uninhabitable house to a valuable asset for the council, the income of which will be used to help continue to provide vital services for our local communities.

"What once was an elegant home had become an eyesore and a magnet for criminals and intruders, who broke into it several times, becoming a real source of worry for neighbours.

“The council made the decision to use its CPO powers and as a result have been able to create two homes that will provide valuable rental income for the council for years to come.”

Compulsory purchase powers, which were granted under Section 226(1)(b) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, can be used by a range of statutory bodies including local authorities and government departments.

All attempts should be made to buy properties by agreement, but where it is impractical or not possible to reach an agreement, compulsory purchase powers can be considered.

In this case, housing officers repeatedly made attempts to get the owner’s co-operation to improve the property, including offers of loans and advice.

In April 2017, officers began the CPO process. This followed an emergency prohibition order and a boarding up notice being placed on the property as it was considered too dangerous to enter or occupy.

The property had been identified as long-term empty since 2005.

Posted on Tuesday 25th May 2021

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