Search

Questions raised after St John’s Wood council blocks sale

PUBLISHED: 17:12 01 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:15 01 December 2017

Questions have been raised after the freehold of the Abercorn estate in St John's Wood was sold to a private firm by Westminster City Council. Picture: GOOGLE

Questions have been raised after the freehold of the Abercorn estate in St John's Wood was sold to a private firm by Westminster City Council. Picture: GOOGLE

Archant

A Labour councillor has called for an inquiry after council homes in St. John’s Wood were transferred to a private company.

Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg made the call after discovering the freehold of the entire Abercorn Place estate – known as the Cricketers because its three blocks Bradman, Warner and Verity, are named after famous pre-war test sportsmen – was in the hands of Kunta Kinte Ltd, registered at an address at the site.

The blocks which sit at the junction of Abercorn Place and Hamilton Terrace were built by former St Marylebone council in the 1950s following bomb damage to the area in World War Two.

Now almost all the 34 leasehold interests are in the hands of one individual, according to the Labour councillor.

Cllr Dimoldenberg has written to the council’s planning and housing chief Ed Watson to ask how the firm got hold of the freehold and what Westminster did to make sure it got a good price out of the deal.

The councillor also asked how Kunta Kinte Ltd bought up enough leaseholds to trigger a tenant buy out of the estate.

In housing law tenants can acquire a building’s freehold as long as 50 per cent of them opt in. Tenants are barred from doing so if they own more than two flats.

In a blog post Cllr Dimoldenberg said: “These flats were built for people in housing need. Now all 34 are in the hands of a private company and residents have no chance of a decent flat at a rent they can afford. This sums up all that is rotten about Conservative housing policies.”

In a post Murad Qureshi, Little Venice Ward candidate in next May’s council elections, said: “When the great and the good built this estate, they could never have imagined this could happen.

“What makes this incredible is almost all the leasehold interests are now in the hands of one person. On many council estates in central London, you often find over 50pc of flats and houses owned by leaseholders, but almost completely by one individual via his companies, is very unusual.”

A Westminster spokesman said: “We are aware concerns have been raised. The blocks were sold to tenants through ‘right-to-buy’ between 1991 and 2010 at the full and proper price. This was a statutory sale through enfranchisement, meaning we were legally obliged to sell.”

Kunta Kinte Ltd were unavailable for comment.

Related articles

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 15:26

South Hampstead Junior School pupils have marked 60 years since the school moved into its own separate site at 12 Netherhall Gardens in 1957.

Yesterday, 12:51

Plans to restore a Grade II*-listed building which saw 600 objections from the community have been given the go ahead by Haringey Council planning chiefs.

Yesterday, 10:31

King’s Cross was once a hotspot for crack cocaine and prostitution – now an independent study (albeit one commissioned by a developer) has concluded that flattening and rebuilding it has been good for the area.

Yesterday, 09:31

A junior school teacher has featured on Channel 4 TV show ‘Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas’ coming runner up in a yuletide cake decorating competition.

Mon, 13:34

Camden Council is set to increase council tax next year by nearly five per cent.

Mon, 10:58

Jailed mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘can see some light’ at the end of the tunnel after she avoided being dragged back to court following a visit by foreign secretary Boris Johnson to her family in Iran.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Weather warnings have been issued across London following heavy snowfall overnight and this morning.

Friday, December 8, 2017

A man in his 60s has died after a fire at a ground floor flat in Alexandra Place, St John’s Wood this morning.

PROMOTED CONTENT

One of London’s most popular animal welfare charities rolled out the red carpet for glamorous guests and their beloved pet dogs as their annual fundraiser returned.

An opportunity of a lifetime has arisen for media-savvy students at City of Westminster College and the College of North West London.

Education editor James Scott speaks to Sarah Creasey about life as headteacher of Parliament Hill School.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now