Westminster Council has allowed the Balmoral Castle public house on the Churchill Gardens estate to remain empty for eight years and has run up a £200,000 scaffolding bill to keep the building standing.
Labour Councillors say that the long-empty Balmoral Castle public house, vacant since 2006, should be converted to new homes for older people. Situated very close to Darwin House, which provides supported housing for elderly people on the Churchill Gardens estate, Labour Councillors have proposed that the five storey Balmoral Castle building be renovated to comprise one bedroom independent living units 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;
“The Balmoral Castle has been vacant for far too long and sums up Westminster Council’s long-term neglect of the Churchill Gardens estate and the needs of local families. It makes no sense spending £25,000 a year to keep this building vacant. The Council should renovate the building to provide purpose-built homes for older residents who want to down-size from a family flat. This will also help some of the many local overcrowded families in need of a bigger flat”
Labour Councillors, supported by the Churchill Labour Action Team of Jason Thomas Williams, Murad Gassanly and Shamim Talukder, have been campaigning consistently for the Council to refurbish the Balmoral Castle.
In April 2010, Westminster Council’s Director of Housing announced; “Residents should be assured that we want to resolve this situation and we will be working with them in the coming weeks.”
However, nearly four years later and £100,000 more spent on scaffolding, nothing has happened and the pub remains derelict.