SIR, — Mr Peter Milne s letter (Herts Advertiser, July 31) regarding the properties owned by Tesco in London Road, St Albans, deserves a response to demonstrate the action that St Albans District Council has taken to tidy the area and relet the houses as
SIR, - Mr Peter Milne's letter (Herts Advertiser, July 31) regarding the properties owned by Tesco in London Road, St Albans, deserves a response to demonstrate the action that St Albans District Council has taken to tidy the area and relet the houses as homes. Detailed below, the improvements show the council has established an effective dialogue with Tesco, but more is needed.
At a meeting between the Council and Tesco scheduled for September 11, 2008, the focus of discussion will be the progress that has been made with refurbishing and letting the properties as previously agreed. The council will discuss at this meeting the potential use of its powers under the Housing Act 2004 to initiate an Empty Dwellings Management Order should insufficient steps forward have been taken.
As Mr Milne correctly sets out, there have been several meetings with Tesco and pledges made over the past three years. As a result of these meetings, the following improvements have been made:
Removal of weeds and litter and ongoing clean-up of property fronts and the area generally with regular site visits by council staff
A metal fence has been erected by Tesco's surveyors along one side of the site to ensure it is safe and cannot be accessed by rough sleepers or children
The car park has been used again by local businesses
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Properties redecorated and graffiti and fly posters removed
Murals by Oaklands College students painted on the fronts of several properties
Discussions to relet the vacant Tesco-owned properties fronting London Road beginning this autumn.
On behalf of residents, the council is determined to use its various powers to ensure the area continues to be kept at the highest standard possible as a gateway route into the city. It will not accept further deterioration of the site while Tesco continues to go through the planning process. The council wishes to see the homes in London Road being let as soon as possible. It will do all it can legally to achieve these aims within the financial constraints on a local authority.
Chief Executive, St Albans District Council.