Owner of doomed flat says council offer is not enough to move

Reporter:

James Hockaday

5

An electrician says he feels unsafe living in a partially-deserted block of flats amid a dispute with Slough Borough Council.

The council is trying to clear Ashbourne House and neighbouring Tower House in Burlington Avenue, Chalvey, to make way for new housing and has offered residents money for their flats plus compensation.

The tradesman and his wife, who wish to remain anonymous, have stayed in Ashbourne House and say only a few flats in Tower House are still occupied.

They have not seen any other dwellers so it is unclear how many still live in their tower but many unoccupied flats have been barred shut by the council.

He says he and his wife, who is five weeks pregnant, now live in fear, due to people breaking into the empty ground floor to ‘take drugs and have sex’.

He says they once waited in their car for 30 minutes before entering their flat because people were hanging around the entrance smoking cannabis.

Residents began moving out last autumn.

The 39-year-old, who bought his former council flat through the Right-to-Buy scheme 12 years ago, said the £205,000 offered to him is not enough for a flat in central Slough.

He says about £234,000 would be enough to buy a flat in the same postcode.

In December 2015, the council offered £175,000 for the flat, including compensation. It offered £189,000 in the summer of 2016 and then £205,000 in December.

“I don’t have to force myself to accept something I can’t afford to buy anything with,” the self-employed tradesman added.

He says he would be unable to sub-let his flat while negotiations are underway because of the problems of anti-social behaviour.

The man’s wife, who joined him from Morocco in November, is particularly distressed, he said.

“She doesn’t know English very well, doesn’t know the system and doesn’t know the culture.

“She says ‘can’t you rent your own house?’ I say I can’t afford it.”

She has been suffering from depression and was taken to hospital after a panic attack last month.

When the block had more residents, security guards provided by the council were on site, but they have since been taken away, he said.

“I’m not feeling comfortable,” the man added.

“I should be having the same service as before when 60 people lived in the block.”

A spokesman at Slough Borough Council said: “Our priority throughout has been to ensure affected residents have all the support they need.

“We are continuing our discussions with the remaining leaseholders and providing services such as caretaking, refuse collection and security, including a 24-hour security phone number.”

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  • Golden Sapphire

    16:04, 19 February 2017

    I am currently living there in and haven't had any problems, we still have security present 24hrs a day & whom are just a phone call away if you need them urgently and they come immediately. The price offered for the flats reflects the fact that they are a concrete build, therefore are worth approx 20% less than the market value. The council by law cannot offer more than the market price as it is taxpayers money. I personally thinkf SBC have done a good job working with the tenants and leaseholders and have been fair in the offers to buy back our flats, although I do have empathy for the leaseholders that can't afford to stay in central slough and have to relocate.

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    • Paperboy

      10:10, 20 February 2017

      Is it not against the law for SBC to pay 6 figure severance to former executives using taxpayers money? But it is for forcing someone out of their home and building luxury apartments that you will never be able to afford? Will take taxpayer recieve any money made from the profits raised or open up another 24 hour anti social behaviour hotline?

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    • Mr golden

      04:04, 20 February 2017

      They where unfair with the offered that what I heard as them offered based on valuation done in 2015 and now we are in 2017 and market value rise in slough town , However , as you said empathy for him and his wife and them future baby as we living in GB human rights , SBC should be relocated them till deal agreed as block of 60 flats end up only less then 3 flat occupied !! How more fair you reckon SBC should be !?

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    • Mr golden

      04:04, 20 February 2017

      How comes the council paying from taxpayer !! The offer has been given under the valuation based on market in 2015 !! as I knew from my mates whom got flats there SBC and Savills state agents were both been unfair with the offer ?! As a human rights in GB and empathy for the man and his Mrs with 5 weeks pregnant then they should revaluate the flat as we are in 2017 then given fare offer as compare with the high rise market in slough town and not neglecting it.

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  • Paperboy

    22:10, 17 February 2017

    Absolutely appalling a young man and his pregnant wife have to live like this in 2017. Well done SBC

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