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Slum flats built without permission are bulldozed by order of Islington Council

March 28, 2013
Pembroke Street (70 _Choudhury Mansions) web

The building prior to demolition. It contained 14 substandard flats.

A controversial block of flats on Pembroke Street in Caledonian Ward has been bulldozed after Islington Council issued final orders to demolish. The five storey block was built without planning permission in 2007 and, after a retrospective planning application was rejected by the Council, enforcement action began.

An appeal against enforcement was dismissed in 2009 when a Planning Inspector said the building was “harmful to the character and appearance of the locality” and overlooked nearby homes “to an unacceptable degree”.

A second planning application was also refused and again dismissed at appeal. The council issued written warnings and took action to appoint a contractor to demolish the building. Faced with having to pay the Council’s bill for having the building demolished, the building’s owner began demolition himself and the building has now been torn-down and the site levelled.

Cally Labour Councillors led the campaign to remove this building. Councillor Paul Convery adds “This was a particularly ugly, oversized building that was very badly managed by its owner. Many of the residents – mainly overseas students and other short-stay visitors to London – were living in slum-like conditions.

Demolition 1 web

The bulldozers begin to rip the building down

“At one point Islington Council was preparing to take action after discovering that children were being housed in the building under unsafe conditions. The owner and landlord ran a disgraceful racket and tried to repeatedly evade enforcement action by Islington Council.”

“It is very unusual for a Council to order demolition of an unpermitted building. But over the years too many landlords have been taking liberties with development in our neighbourhood and I hope this case shows that we are taking very firm action against rogue landlords and developers”.

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and planning, said: “This case shows we will take action against developers who break the rules and have a negative impact on the local community and nearby residents. We want more housing in Islington, especially social housing where local people can afford to live.”

The building was subject to a long and tortuous history of enforcement by the Council and evasion by the owner:

  • A retrospective planning application was submitted and refused in May 2008.

    Demolition 2

    The empty, levelled site … suitable for new homes on the Bemerton Estate?

  • An enforcement notice requiring demolition of the building was issued in November 2008.
  • An appeal against the enforcement notice was lodged, but that appeal was dismissed in July 2009.
  • A further planning application was made involving some changes in design and a reduction in the number of units; that was also refused and the appeal was dismissed in February 2011.
  • The owner then lodged an application for judicial review of the Inspector’s decision to dismiss that appeal.  This was also unsuccessful.
  • Several written warnings to remove the building were issued, but no action was taken, so the council made arrangements to hire contractors to demolish the building and then reclaim the cost from the owner.
  • In February 2013 the owner finally commenced demolition of the building himself, and it was finished earlier this month (March).

The building was on the site of a former pub adjacent to the Bemerton Estate. Residents on the estate have welcomed the demolition and praised the Council for its firm action.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Major Bonkers permalink
    April 19, 2013 2:19 pm

    That’s the small fry of slum landlords dealt with, now maybe something might happen about the famous milkman of the Caledonian Road.

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