Empty properties

PUBLISHED: 12:49 26 January 2006 | UPDATED: 20:19 03 May 2010

SIR, - I support Kerry Pollard in urging St Albans District Council to make use of a new Housing Act to put a number of empty properties to better use (Herts Advertiser, January 12). These are situated on one side of London Road between Alma Road and Latt

SIR, - I support Kerry Pollard in urging St Albans District Council to make use of a new Housing Act to put a number of empty properties to better use (Herts Advertiser, January 12). These are situated on one side of London Road between Alma Road and Lattimore Road. Recently the council applied a compulsory purchase order on a house in nearby Marlborough Road which had fallen into a state of disrepair. The London Road properties are fortunate in not having pigeons in the rafters - they are just rundown and dilapidated. The vacant houses and shops are owned by Verulam Properties, a subsidiary of Tesco. It was hoped at the time neighbouring tenants would sell up and move out. Unfortunately many did not have sufficient capital to advance up the property ladder. Thus a stalemate resulted. I believe if a hypermarket were built on the former Eversheds site, nearby Iceland and Londis would be unable to compete with a giant and close. A traffic gridlock would occur at the entrance and exit to the new Tesco. Alma Road is busy at the best of times. With valuable Green Belt sacrificed for housing needs, perhaps the solution is to redesignate empty properties into low-rent accommodation for workers in key services who otherwise have to live elsewhere. Allowing the district council to take control of these long-term-empty properties is the solution required to end the current deadlock on London Road. PAUL REYNOLDS, Bardwell Court, St Albans.

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