Council gains compulsory purchase order for property which has been unoccupied for 28 years

Published: Tuesday, 19th December 2017

The government has confirmed a compulsory purchase order (CPO) which will allow Oxford City Council to buy a Rose Hill property that has been empty since the death of its owner in 1989.

100 Spencer Crescent is a four bedroom house which had been a council property until it was purchased under Right to Buy in 1988.

The property is still in the deceased owner’s name as the executors of their estate have never applied for probate. The council has been in discussion with the executors since 1993, encouraging them to bring the property back into use and offering to buy it once probate was granted.

The CPO has been confirmed by the Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). DCLG guidance states that a CPO can only be made if there is a compelling case in the public interest.

There are more than 3,000 households on the council’s housing register.

The council intends to use the house as temporary accommodation for homeless families once the legal process is completed and the property is renovated.

Councillor Mike Rowley, Board Member for Housing, said: “The last time someone lived in this house the Berlin Wall was still standing. Given the housing crisis in Oxford, it’s a tragedy that any suitable property remains unoccupied, and it’s a crying shame that we could not bring this house back into use earlier. Once the legal process is complete, we will refurbish this house so it can become much-needed temporary accommodation for homeless families.

“Compulsory purchase is absolutely the last resort, and we would much prefer to come to agreements with owners and executors of estates to bring empty properties back into use. If you’ve got an empty property, you can help us to meet housing need and alleviate the Oxford housing crisis – please speak to our Empty Residential Property Officer about how we can help you.”

The council’s Empty Residential Property Officer can be contacted on 01865 252280.