Pressure on Tesco to bring empty houses back into use

PUBLISHED: 11:12 06 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:28 06 May 2010

EMPTY houses bordering the Tesco site near St Albans city centre must be brought back into use in the wake of the supermarket giant s failed planning application. St Albans MP Anne Main has written to both Tesco and the district council to ask them to tak

EMPTY houses bordering the Tesco site near St Albans city centre must be brought back into use in the wake of the supermarket giant's failed planning application.

St Albans MP Anne Main has written to both Tesco and the district council to ask them to take action over the houses in London Road even though the former Evershed's site remains undeveloped.

But the council's planning portfolio holder, Cllr Chris Brazier, made it clear this week that they had no intention of letting Tesco off the hook over the houses and if the supermarket chain did nothing, the council would offer them to a housing association to rent to people on the housing list.

Mrs Main called for the properties to be brought back into use because St Albans had a lack of affordable housing.

She said: "I have maintained that this site would be perfect for a brownfield housing development but while it is owned by Tesco they are unfortunately within their rights to continue to put forward proposals for the site but this doesn't stop the council taking action on empty dwellings such as these."

She added: "Not only are empty properties unsightly but many people feel it is wrong to have them empty when they could be brought back into useful purpose.

"It was recently estimated that there are around 670,000 empty properties in England, and St Albans is an area experiencing enormous pressures on housing demand."

Cllr Brazier pointed out that when he met Tesco earlier this year they had been told that they either had to submit a planning application or the properties in London Road would be repossessed and rented out.

Since then Tesco had submitted an application which had failed and there had been some tidying up of London Road with murals painted on the empty houses and the former Odeon car park brought back into use.

But he would be having a meeting with Tesco at the end of next month where they would be discussing either renting the houses out or selling them."

Cllr Brazier said it would now be treated as a separate issue whether or not Tesco decided to go to appeal over their planning application or not.

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