Southend Council buys back tower block flats years after cashing in

Quantock flats

Quantock flats

First published in News by

Taxpayers' cash has been used to buy back a flat in a town centre tower block – years after the authority sold it off.

Southend Council has bought a private flat in the Quantock tower block, in Chichester Road, as a “business opportunity”.

The flat, sold under Right To Buy some years ago, was put back on the market in an auction – and snapped up by the previous Tory administration for £45,000.

The purchase comes as the council devises a long-term plan to redevelop the Queensway estate. Labour’s David Norman, councillor responsible for housing, said: “This was a good business opportunity for the council to purchase one of the remaining leasehold flats in this block at a reasonable price, and generate a rental income.

“We also have an eye to the future and it has been well documented we have a long-termaspiration to regenerate the Queensway area and owning as much of the asset as possible, is clearly going to help us take that forward.

“In terms of the project, I want to reiterate that there are a number of options being explored.

“We are still at the very early stages and certainly no decisions have been made. I have also made a commitment to keep residents fully informed as the project progresses.”

The property is the only one in Quantock that the council has bought back after the Eighties sale.

The council now owns 350 of the 400 flats in the block, with the others being privately owned.

A year-long study into Southend’s social housing, led by Mr Norman, concluded the tower blocks on the Queensway estate could be refurbished, gutted, or demolished and rebuilt.

Because Queensway House next door to Quantock has already been cleared, Queensway is seen as ripe for development.

If a demolition project was put forward, it could happen in 18 months.

Echo:

 

Consultation promise - Southend Council

Housing bosses have promised to consult residents by the end of the year on Quantock’s future, but tenants are still concerned.

Southend Council wrote to all residents in the 350 councilowned flats in the tower block, in the wake of the Echo’s story earlier this month, which revealed demolition was an option.

The letter, signed by the councillor responsible for housing, David Norman, reads: “I wanted to write to you to provide you with some more information and reassure you that no decisions have been made to demolish the tower blocks and that discussions about the Queensway area are at a very early stage “All residents will be involved in the process when we have something to say or present to you. We are not yet at that stage, but expect there to be some consultation with you later this year.”

But tenants were not impressed.

Rose Chapman, 82, who has lived at Quantock for 36 years, said: “It’s worrying because it means that I could have to move, but I’ve been living her since 1978.

“We could do with a refurbishment of the tower block instead of knocking it down.

“But it feels like the council is just letting it fall by the wayside so it has an excuse to bring it down.”

Comments (5)

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6:08pm Thu 31 Jul 14

sesibollox says...

Now knock this Shyte hole down, along with Pennine and Malvern
Now knock this Shyte hole down, along with Pennine and Malvern sesibollox
  • Score: 17

7:27pm Thu 31 Jul 14

ThisYear says...

The council work for the people...they should do as the people wish not what they, the council, want.
The council work for the people...they should do as the people wish not what they, the council, want. ThisYear
  • Score: 3

8:27pm Thu 31 Jul 14

supermadmax says...

Many of the apartments in that set of blocks are amazing with the scenic views to match. Anyone who feels otherwise, as quite simply never been in one.

Regardless, If they do demolish a favourite part of the Southend skyline, lets hope that all the residents are re housed in Thorpe Bay, they will give the TB mafia something to worry about, rather than just their little project on the old tram stop.

I'm in favour of any homeless shelters, hospices, handicap centres or council rehousing to be done in Thorpe Bay and have recently written to many bodies encouraging and promoting such action, I urge any non member of the Thopre Bay Mafia to do the same.
Many of the apartments in that set of blocks are amazing with the scenic views to match. Anyone who feels otherwise, as quite simply never been in one. Regardless, If they do demolish a favourite part of the Southend skyline, lets hope that all the residents are re housed in Thorpe Bay, they will give the TB mafia something to worry about, rather than just their little project on the old tram stop. I'm in favour of any homeless shelters, hospices, handicap centres or council rehousing to be done in Thorpe Bay and have recently written to many bodies encouraging and promoting such action, I urge any non member of the Thopre Bay Mafia to do the same. supermadmax
  • Score: 10

8:44pm Thu 31 Jul 14

the25man says...

Rose Chapman failed to mention that all the Council owned flats have had new bathrooms and kitchens fitted in the last five or six years, the communal areas up graded.
So no the Council has been letting it fall by the way side.
Rose Chapman failed to mention that all the Council owned flats have had new bathrooms and kitchens fitted in the last five or six years, the communal areas up graded. So no the Council has been letting it fall by the way side. the25man
  • Score: 1

1:30am Fri 1 Aug 14

Mike Smith says...

The Queensway Estate is certainly not some sort of slum area, despite the idle comments of some idiots who post here. There are also no plans to demolish any of the blocks.

Perhaps this recent spate of reports is merely the Echo's form of creative journalism, by which they manufacture news in order to create scare stories and upset people who have done no harm to anyone in Southend.

The Queensway Community Group, who represent the people who actually live here, is currently working on several projects to add new facilities for residents, and we aim to increase activities for the young people on the estate. Everybody is very positive about the future.

It is also correct that much maintenance has already been done: by adding new bathrooms and kitchens, new security doors to stop drug addicts and drunks gaining access, cameras in lifts to identify those causing anti-social behaviour. Our aerial systems have been rewired for digital TV, and many other improvements have been introduced over recent years.

So, a lot of money has been spent in order to improve the quality of life on Queensway Estate, and it would make no sense at all to throw that public money down the drain because some lunatics around Southend believe it would be a good idea to demolish, or in some way destroy what is good right now.

Tell me where you live and I will come around and bulldoze your home, and see how much better that will make your life.
The Queensway Estate is certainly not some sort of slum area, despite the idle comments of some idiots who post here. There are also no plans to demolish any of the blocks. Perhaps this recent spate of reports is merely the Echo's form of creative journalism, by which they manufacture news in order to create scare stories and upset people who have done no harm to anyone in Southend. The Queensway Community Group, who represent the people who actually live here, is currently working on several projects to add new facilities for residents, and we aim to increase activities for the young people on the estate. Everybody is very positive about the future. It is also correct that much maintenance has already been done: by adding new bathrooms and kitchens, new security doors to stop drug addicts and drunks gaining access, cameras in lifts to identify those causing anti-social behaviour. Our aerial systems have been rewired for digital TV, and many other improvements have been introduced over recent years. So, a lot of money has been spent in order to improve the quality of life on Queensway Estate, and it would make no sense at all to throw that public money down the drain because some lunatics around Southend believe it would be a good idea to demolish, or in some way destroy what is good right now. Tell me where you live and I will come around and bulldoze your home, and see how much better that will make your life. Mike Smith
  • Score: 5

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