I hinted that this may well be the case when I wrote that the Crystal Road project could have a hidden bonus for one councillor, but the homework has now been done by a Philtheone.com reader who has shared their findings with me.
In March this year the council executive were asked to make a decision to compulsory purchase a property on Crystal Road comprising 3 flats and a maisonette; all going concerns. The council executive is made up of the following councillors:
- Peter Callow
- Maxine Callow
- Ian Fowler
- Tony Williams
- Lily Henderson
- Donald Clapham
All of these councillors were present at the meeting, apart from Ian Fowler. All present councillors declared an interest in this property in that they knew the vendor. And thus, the decision was approved.
I can confirm from Land Registry information that the property 25/27 Crystal Road was owned by both Ian and Susan Fowler and was compulsory purchased for £180,000. So that’s why Ian wasn’t at the meeting, that’s why the entire executive declared interest and one could suggest that that’s why it was approved so swiftly and has been kept rather quiet.
Taking a look at the valuation report done by Keppie Massey, it states that the property had a combined income of £20,020 per annum, but what’s this?
“We have not been provided with nor had sight of any leases but we understand that the flats are let by way of Assured Shorthold Tenancies reserved at the following rents:
Flat 1, £4420 per annum
Flat 2 (Maisonette), £6240 per annum
Flat 3, £3900 per annum
Flat 5, £5460 per annum”
How can this be just accepted? Surely this income formed the basis of the property valuation?
Now, my mission for you dear readers is to find someone on Crystal Road that can confirm whether or not anyone has actually lived in that property.
It has also been suggested to me by a property developer that £180,000 is way over the odds for that building. For a start, it has suffered and from its outside appearance looks like it continues to suffer subsidance despite the valuation report stating that it has been sorted as part of an insurance claim with Norwich Union. I’m no property expert but I would have thought this would have a detrimental effect on the value.
The intention is to convert the property back into two houses, and I’m informed that any private developer operating with much cheaper contractors than the council would struggle to make a profit doing this bearing in mind the purchase price. But the council soldiers on and is determined to blow thousands more pounds of taxpayers money on this lost cause and the only people in the whole town that seem to benefit from it are Ian and Susan Fowler.
In the pipeline there is a motion to take this to the district auditor, so I will keep you informed on how that progresses.
UPDATE: Cracks on the property which may indicate further subsidence.