Council to use compulsory purchase order on abandonded Bow house after garden ‘colonised’ by foxes
PUBLISHED: 17:15 28 September 2018
A homeowner who abandoned his £900,000 property in Bow will be forced to give it up after the back garden was “colonised” by foxes.
The 57-year-old moved out of the three-bedroom property in Antill Road, seven years ago and has refused to sell up.
Today the plot is overrun with weeds — which are even growing out of the roof — while the windows are either smashed or boarded up.
The terraced property, which sits on a street where houses sell for £1 million, has twice been taken over by squatters, who have blighted the area with anti-social behaviour.
At one point, residents called in Tower Hamlets Council officers over a dead fox which was rotting in the back garden.
Following years of complaints, neighbours wrote a letter to the council this month demanding action.
The council says the home is “very likely” to remain unoccupied if it is not sold. It is now using compulsory purchase powers to buy the property for £860,000.
Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs said the council had a “duty” to resolve the situation. “Squatters and drug dealers have used it over the years and we have had to remove them,” he said.
“The garden has been colonised by foxes. The windows are boarded up and it attracts anti-social behaviour.”
The council estimates it will have to spend £960,000 to buy and refurbish the property near Mile End Park. Diana Gibbs, who lives two doors away, said: “It is absolutely full of foxes — a bit like an urban nature programme at times. One died in my garden. It’s actually been very disturbing.
“It’s fantastic news that it is going to be sorted out, although I imagine it’s going to cost quite a bit of money.”
Stuart Fraser, 72, a construction project director who worked on the Olympic Park and lives opposite, said: “It’s an eyesore and it’s got structural damage which could be dangerous for people walking along the street.”
Another neighbour said: “We had a fox stuck in our back garden. I could be here all day talking about the problems we have had with that place.”
Tower Hamlets Council wants to use the property to house homeless families for five years before it is resold on the open market. If the owner contests the sale, the case will be heard at a public inquiry, the council added.