St Albans council home left empty for months prior to revelopment

PUBLISHED: 12:01 28 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:44 06 May 2010

A LARGE detached council-owned property at the bottom of Holywell Hill has been standing empty since May and has now been boarded up. The property, which had been used for the emergency re-housing of homeless families, will be demolished in early spring t

A LARGE detached council-owned property at the bottom of Holywell Hill has been standing empty since May and has now been boarded up.

The property, which had been used for the emergency re-housing of homeless families, will be demolished in early spring to make way for the leisure development at Westminster Lodge in St Albans.

But Councillor Roma Mills, the prospective parliamentary Labour candidate, said: "This scandalous waste is emblematic of a council that cares more about catering for providing leisure services for its affluent majority than providing housing for the homeless.

"Every day I speak to families in desperate need of exactly this type of accommodation. Even in terms of economics, surely it is a waste of our resources to have a council property standing empty for a year."

Richard Shwe, the council's head of culture and community development, said the demolition would form part of preparatory works due to start in early summer next year.

He explained that homeless families had been housed there while waiting for a permanent tenancy in a council property.

The property had been left in an extremely poor state of internal repair by the last tenants and its refurbishment was not considered to be a good use of public money when there were plans in place to demolish it, he added.

The building has been boarded up to prevent vandalism or squatters getting in.

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