Lack of action

PUBLISHED: 11:41 31 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:28 06 May 2010

SIR — The Tesco-owned houses in London Road have been a disgrace to St Albans for years. Tesco have done a token tidying up but they are still boarded up and decaying. Three years ago the district council started talking about restoring the houses under n

SIR - The Tesco-owned houses in London Road have been a disgrace to St Albans for years. Tesco have done a token tidying up but they are still boarded up and decaying. Three years ago the district council started talking about restoring the houses under new powers but have done nothing, as the following press clippings show:

n September 16, 2005 - The council says it is looking to use an amendment to the Housing Act which comes into force this autumn allowing it to manage (the London Road houses) with a view to providing accommodation for tenants on the housing register.

n January 5, 2006 - A council spokesman said: "There are two areas we are exploring. Under section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act we can make efforts to tidy up the appearance of the area..... Cllr Robert Donald has also written to Verulam Properties, a subsidiary of Tesco which owns the properties, to request that action is taken to improve their appearance."

n June 19, 2006 - Council leader Robert Donald has pledged to take action over the empty homes and shops in London Road if the stymied supermarket scheme does not progress this year.

n October 15, 2007 - .... district council planning chief Chris Brazier .... is asking council officers to use the 2004 Housing Act to take over the properties temporarily.

n February 19, 2008 - (Tesco) says it will renovate six of the homes it owns in May or June, and all should be occupied by tenants by the end of this year.

Well now it's nearly August and there's no sign of any renovation - and since Tesco lost their planning application who would believe they intend to do anything? Their inhabited houses in Alma Road remain badly neglected, even though Tesco claim they no longer want to demolish them.

Now is the time for the council, and Robert Donald in particular, to fulfil their promises over the last three years to use their powers to bring the houses back into use and send Tesco the bill.

PETER MILNE,

Alma Road, St Albans.

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