Labour Councillors have called for an inquiry in to how the freehold of the entire Abercorn Place estate in St John’s Wood has been transferred from Westminster City Council to a private company, Kunta Kinte Ltd which has two shareholders, both of which are registered at 7 Bradman House on the estate.
The Abercorn Place Estate (known locally as the ‘Cricketers’ because the three blocks are named Bradman, Warner and Verity Houses after three famous pre-war Test cricketers) was built by the former St Marylebone Borough Council in the 1950s following World War 2 bomb damage
In addition, almost all the 34 leasehold interests are now in the hands of one individual.
- How did Kunta Kinte come to acquire the freehold of an entire Council estate?
- If it was through leasehold enfranchisement, what process did Westminster Council undertake to ensure it received a fair price for the freehold?
- How did the company come to acquire enough leaseholds (50%) to trigger enfranchisement?
- If subsequent to buying the freehold, the company have acquired all the remaining leaseholds, how did they do this?
Councillor Dimoldenberg said:
“These flats were built for people in housing need. Now all 34 Council flats are in the hands of a private company and local residents have no chance of a decent flat at a rent they can afford. This sums up all that is rotten about Conservative housing policies.”
Murad Qureshi, former GLA member and now a Little Venice Ward Candidate at next May’s Council elections, has written about this issue https://muradqureshi.com/council-estate-becomes-private-estate/. He said:
“When the great and the good built this Estate through the local council, they could never have imagined this could happen to the housing being provided for its residents in Marylebone in desperate housing need. What makes this quite incredible is that almost all the leasehold interests are now in the hands of one individual. On many Council Estates in Central London, you often find over 50 per cent of the flats and houses are owned by leaseholders, but almost completely by one individual via his companies, is very unusual indeed. “
You can see the freehold document here Abercorn Place Estate
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