IF YOU are as big a fan of Cllr Ian Fowler as I am, you will be aware of the Crystal Road scheme which saw Blackpool Council buying up property in the Foxhall area of town, supposedly to renovate them and release them as high quality family accommodation.
Mr Fowler banked a delicious £180,000 from the sale of his property on Crystal Road, which seemed rather convenient if nothing else, given the indicators of current subsidance on the external walls of the property and the apparent lack of diligence on the valuation.
The council didn’t just buy property on Crystal Road though: Rawcliffe Street, Pleasant Street, Dean Street and Moore Street all saw property purchased by the council, the total spend being a smidgeon under £2.8million.
I suggested that these properties would end up under the ownership of an out of town housing association after hearing this from a local hotelier, and in a trilogy of executive decisions yesterday (PH/181/2010, PH/182/2010 and PH/183/2010), this was made so.
Portfolio holder Cllr Lily Henderson demonstrated that not only can you buy tacky watches, christmas decorations and kiss me quick hats in Blackpool for £1, you can actually buy a whole street as she signed away 18 properties to Manchester-based social housing group Great Places for just £3.
This move signals a loss of £2,791,494 to the taxpayer.
Here’s the breakdown;
- 10 properties on Crystal Road - £1
- 7 properties on Dean Street, Moore Street and Rawcliffe Street – £1
- 1 large property on Pleasant Street – £1
There are a couple of reasons why the council is doing this. The first is that it cannot afford to do up the Pleasant Street property, which has planning approval for conversion to 25 flats. The second is that it intended to sell the other properties to developers who would do up the houses and place them on the open market. I guess they had no interest.
Clearly, putting these properties into the hands of a housing association is not going to be the catalyst to bringing Foxhall out of the doldrums.
Ian Fowler must be laughing all the way to the bank.