01:29PM, Tuesday 05 February 2019
“Nobody should hold us to ransom” — was the message of Slough Borough Council’s cabinet last night (Monday) as members approved plans to forcibly buy a flat standing in the way of a redevelopment project.
The council wants to demolish Tower House and Ashbourne House in Chalvey Park to make way for a new social housing site including 197 homes.
The plans are yet to be approved by the planning committee, but the council approved the demolition of the two Sixties buildings containing 120 flats in January last year.
In December, the Express reported that two residents of flats which were bought from the council through the right-to-buy scheme, were still living in the building, despite the owners being offered a substantial amount of money.
At a meeting at The Curve, in William Street, cabinet members said they were down to one remaining landlord at Ashbourne House asking for more money.
Council leader Cllr James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) could not publicly disclose the council’s offer or the landlord’s asking price but quipped: “I think you could buy the whole block for that.”
Although Compulsory Purchase Orders can take some time to complete due to legal complexities, the cabinets approval of one means the council will be able to buy the last remaining flat without the landlord’s consent.
Deputy leader Cllr Sabia Hussain (Lab, Central) said: “We are talking about offering a fair price, nobody’s going to be out of pocket here, there’s legislation to protect from that.
“Our objectives for regeneration shouldn’t be held to ransom because you’re the owner of a property and you think you can stop something much bigger.
“Nobody should hold us to ransom. Let’s just get on with it.”
Cllr Mohammed Sharif (Lab, Chalvey) says residents are currently signing a petition calling to protect the play area, claiming it will be endangered by the new development.
He said the plans in their current form are ‘excessive’ and questioned the viability of 110 car parking spaces for the 197 flats.
An SBC spokeswoman said the proposal is only in the pre-planning consultation stage and that all views and suggestions are welcome.
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