Disused Banbury bungalows owned by London borough to become affordable homes

One of the empty bungalows in Banesberie Close, Banbury
One of the empty bungalows in Banesberie Close, Banbury

A cul-de-sac of bungalows, derelict and left to fall in to disrepair by owners Lambeth Council will soon be homes for Banbury tenants.

The boarded-up homes on Banesberie Close on Banbury’s Hardwick Estate have become an eyesore and a cause for complaint.

Contributors on the Banburyshire Info community page on Facebook have expressed incredulity that Banbury properties could be left to rot by a London borough.

This week, Cherwell District Council (CDC) told the Banbury Guardian the bungalows are being transferred to housing association Sanctuary housing for use by local tenants.

A CDC spokesman said: “Lambeth wanted to buy homes in Banbury so they could house people outside of London, for which there could have been a whole variety of reasons.”

She said 21 houses left in Lambeth’s ownership have been transferred to Sanctuary Housing. The remaining nine were sold over the years.

“At the moment 12 houses are disused but they became empty at different times,” the spokesman said.

“ It started with one house seven years ago and then over the years the number of houses in disuse increased.

“The properties were purchased as a batch by ‘The Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Lambeth’ from Federated Homes Limited, the builder of the properties, in 1980.”

CDC said it has been liaising closely with Lambeth Borough Council over the transfer following a positive vote from the remaining Lambeth tenants in the close.

“This transfer is now anticipated to take place in late summer or autumn this year, at which time Sanctuary Housing will begin refurbishment works to all the properties to bring them back into use as much-needed affordable accommodation.

“The council is aware of the state of the properties as well as how many are currently vacant and share the frustrations of local residents with the disrepair of some of the properties in the area,” said Cherwell’s Marianna Russo.

“Although the properties are not the district council’s responsibility it has instigated works to address the lack of management in the area.

“The council has already cleared fly-tipping from one of the vacant bungalows and is in the process of getting a contractor to cut overgrown front lawns.

Cllr John Donaldson, Cherwell’s lead member for housing, said: “I am as frustrated with the state of these properties as the residents.

“Officers have been working with Lambeth and Sanctuary to push for a resolution to this unacceptable situation as soon as possible.

“Unfortunately there is a limit to what we can do with properties owned by another organisation, even another council.”

Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite, Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Housing, said: “Lambeth Council has owned and managed the properties for some years and they are a mix of tenanted, leasehold and vacant properties.

“The transfer was proposed because the properties need work, and that will be more easily managed by a local social housing landlord, meaning residents will get a better service.”