A group of disused bungalows, formerly owned by Labour-run Lambeth Council, have now been transferred to local housing association provider Sanctuary Housing.
For several years, the 21 properties, only 6 of which are currently occupied, had fallen into a state of disrepair with the condition of the disused, boarded-up units attracting anti-social behaviour. The London-borough Council has spent nearly 3 years negotiating the transfer delaying the start of important renovation works. Following a recent fire in one of the properties, local elected representatives increased pressure on Lambeth to complete the transfer.
Hardwick Councillors John Donaldson, Tony Ilott, Nick Turner and David Beverly, and Member of Parliament, Victoria Prentis have been urging the swift implementation of new ownership. In letters to both the Housing Minister and Lambeth Council, they highlighted safety concerns for the remaining residents in the cul-de-sac.
Following the announcement yesterday that transfer had been completed, Hardwick District Councillor John Donaldson commented: “We are delighted that we have at last managed to get these properties transferred. Cherwell District Council has been closely involved in this process. The improvements Sanctuary Housing will make to the properties will be transformative for this community.”
Town Councillor David Beverly added: "I’m very pleased by this news. During my recent by-election campaign, I spoke to many residents in Banesberie Close. They fondly remembered the well-tended gardens and vibrant neighbourhood when they first moved there. We must ensure the upcoming work will restore that sense of community.”
Member of Parliament for Banbury Victoria Prentis had dealt with regular casework in the Close related to the disused bungalows. She said: “It is a huge relief that the transfer has now taken place. I am sure many of my constituents living in and around Banesberie Close are looking forward to the transformation and reassurance that progress on the properties will be made. The bungalows will be a great local asset to house those most in need.”
Sanctuary Housing has already started work to bring the much-needed homes back into use. Security panels on the empty bungalows have been upgraded, overgrown gardens cut back, and communal landscaped areas tidied.