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97 Caledonian Road – building blights the neighbourhood

March 11, 2010
Shrouded in scaffolding, the building is almost falling down

Propped-up by scaffolding, the building is almost collapsing

It isn’t unusual to hear passers-by mutter “what a bloody disgrace” when they look at 97 Caledonian Road. And it’s all made worse because the Council has repeatedly failed to use any of its available powers to take-over the site. They could serve a compulsory purchase order (CPO) or use the new law which lets Councils commandeer empty housing. But nothing has happened.

The site is at the junction of Wharfedale Road with Killick Street and Caledonian Road. It’s been derelict for years.

Two years ago, the owners let an outdoor advertising company put a huge ‘wraparound’ advert covering the entire building. They did so without planning permission. Paul and Rupert got that nipped in the bud sharpish – although it did have the advantage of hiding the sadly decrepit building behind.

Even during the property boom, no-one seemed prepared to take-on this crumbling building. Incredibly, the site has a “for sale” notice which claims there is a planning permission for redevelopment. Not true.

Here’s one part of the problem: Islington’s planners keep telling potential purchasers that the building’s facade would have to be retained. Well that’s a nightmare for anyone thinking of buying the site because it’s almost falling down. That’s why its been shrouded in scaffolding for so long. So a “conservation” principle is keeping this site blighted.

What to do then? Councillor Paul Convery says that one of his first acts, if Labour forms an administration after the May elections, is to instruct planners to un-blight the site and get the Council’s legal people to start CPO proceedings. The building should be returned to its former uses with housing on the upper floors and a shop or offices at street level.

Paul says “people often say this corner has one of Islington’s ‘gateway’ buildings and it tells a dreadful story of neglect in this busy part of our neighbourhood. We’ve spent 4 years trying to get this fixed.  Each time we’ve been rebuffed by bureaucrats wielding excuses and by a Town Hall political leadership that simply isn’t interested”.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 24, 2010 3:40 pm

    Seems like the word got out. The owners of the site submitted a planning application to “refresh” a 2005 application which was about to expire. The application (number P101111) is to provide “Extensions to ground and basement floors to provide additional floor area for use class (A1) as existing. Existing brick built extension to be demolished as part of planning permission ref: P051032.” The building has also been sold. And construction work appears to have begun. Good.

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