Westminster City Council has been spending over £20,000 a year on scaffolding since The Balmoral Castle closed in 2006. The total bill to Council Tax payers is now over £140,000, not including VAT. In addition, the Council has lost tens of thousands of pounds in lost rent and rates.
Three years ago, in April 2010, the former Director of Housing said;
“Residents should be assured that we want to resolve this situation and we will be working with them in the coming weeks.”
However, three years later, nothing has happened and the pub remains derelict and supported by scaffolding.
In response to a petition from local residents in 2013, all Westminster Council could say was;
“The Council is still considering the options for the future of the Balmoral Castle Public House as part of its ongoing review of all its property assets. All residents on the estate will be contacted and consulted prior to any final decision being made.”
Labour Councillors say that as the former pub is situated very close to Darwin House, which provides supported housing for elderly people on the Churchill Gardens estate, the Balmoral Castle should be renovated to comprise independent flats with alarm access to Darwin House. Labour say that these new flats could then be offered to older Westminster Council tenants who currently occupy family-sized flats, who wish to move voluntarily to a smaller flat, thereby releasing these family sized properties for families on the Council’s waiting list.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;
“Westminster Council’s incompetence knows no bounds. This Council owned property has been empty for 7 years and hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money has been spent keeping it empty. Refurbishing the property for new homes would be a common sense and practical solution. So what is stopping the Council from getting on with the job?”