GILDAS AVENUE: Stalemate despite new offer on house
A resident of deserted Gildas Avenue has received an offer of an extra £15,000 for his home – but the stalemate continues.
Carl Harris, 64, is the last resident on a stretch of the road in Kings Norton which is set to become transformed into new housing.
But he has been holding out on moving because he says the offer he has received from the city council is not enough for him to be able to afford a similar property with parking in the area.
The council is now offering £155,000, he says – but with house prices going up, he says he needs significantly more to be able to afford an appropriate replacement locally.
Mr Harris, who is off work long-term from his job as a National Express driver, said: “I am looking for in the area of £220,000 plus for a similar property. There are properties [for the amount they are offering] but they are not Birmingham properties.
“I don’t want the money – I just want somewhere suitable to live.”
He said he recently saw a suitable property between Moseley and Billesley but it was £285,000 and said: “They said they wouldn’t pay that – that’s too much.”
He has seen properties elsewhere in the country for the amount being offered, but said he has been told by the council it will not cover removal costs.
He said: “The only affordable properties I can find are not in the area I am living.”
“Their offers are not keeping pace with the demand for houses. That seems to be the case unfortunately.”
Mr Harris has described the situation as a “land grab” and believes developers could make as much as £1 million through building new smaller properties on the plot of land.
Mr Harris said he wants to remain in the area as he plans to help out at The Transport Museum, Wythall when he retires.
He added other potential routes have not been shown to be possible.
He said he wouldn’t be allowed to buy a council house from existing stock under local authority rules as it would need to go to tender, and wouldn’t be eligible for a council house if he was to become a tenant – he would be given a flat rather than a house.
Speaking about life on the deserted road which was once called a “no go-zone” due to crime, he said: “The crime situation has gone fairly quiet. Fly-tipping is still going on but not as bad as [in April].”
The Local Democracy Reporting Service was able to find a number of houses on RightMove for the price the council is offering but Mr Harris said none were comparable with the house he has at the moment and would leave him worse off.
The city council is proposing to make a compulsory purchase order if an agreement cannot be reached for his property.
A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: “Letters were sent to the affected property owners on the Pool Farm Estate, Kings Norton on 24 March 2021 – including Carl Harris regarding his property in Gildas Avenue.
“These included a notice, made under Section 16 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, stating it was the council’s wish to secure acquisition of his property. Birmingham Property Services officers continue to negotiate with Mr Harris on a voluntary basis.
“It is hoped agreement can be reached through this negotiation, however if not, it is proposed that a compulsory purchase order be made on this property.”
Words: Mark Cardwell, Local Democracy Reporter
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