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Birmingham City Council Refuses To Buy City Centre Apartments

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Birmingham City Council refuses to buy city centre apartments ... because they don't meet their standards

Sep 16 2009

Hundreds of apartments built at the height of Birmingham’s professional services boom are lying empty, with even the city council refusing to buy them at knock-down prices for homeless people.

It has emerged that developers desperate to shift the one and two bedroom flats – branded the “slums of tomorrow†by a senior councillor – have approached civic housing officials hoping to do a deal.

But the local authority has rejected all offers, declaring that the apartments are too close together, poorly built and not good enough for council tenants.

Cabinet housing member John Lines said the quality of the flats, many in the city centre, did not begin to match most council stock. He told a scrutiny committee: “We have been offered some of these flats, but they’re not even comparable to our council homes. “They’re not good enough for our people.â€

Many of the properties in question were built in former factories in the Jewellery Quarter two or three years ago with the expectation that they would be snapped up by young high-earning accountants, lawyers and bankers.

But while high-end apartments in and around the Mailbox and Brindleyplace continue to be sold at a premium, many of the smaller flats remain vacant.

Coun Lines’s comments came as one of the city’s leading lettings agencies warned of a “real shortage of quality properties†on the market. Fleet-Milne Residential said decent properties tended to be snapped up as soon as they were advertised for sale, but many properties in new developments remained unlet even though many young professionals were looking to rent accommodation.

Fleet-Milne said: “We simply need to source more rental properties and have already earmarked The Cube, which is scheduled for completion next summer, as the next hot spot.â€

Councillors have consistently expressed concerns about the number of one and two bedroom flats being built in Birmingham city centre by the private sector, arguing instead for more family dwellings. The population of the city centre has jumped by a third since 2001, off the back of city living.

Edgbaston Conservative councillor James Hutchings told the scrutiny committee that some flats in the Jewellery Quarter were “quite appallingâ€.

He added: “There is no open space near them and we wouldn’t have council flats built at such high levels of density.

“They are the slums of tomorrow and the planning committee must say stop building them to developers.â€

Birmingham City Council has invested £500 million since 2004 in modernising its own housing stock, with 90 per cent of the 65,000 local authority properties now meeting the government’s decent homes standard after being fitted out with double glazing, central heating, new kitchens and bathrooms. And for the first time in 30 years, the city is building its council houses again.

Birmingham Mail

Getting a sense of deja-vu here.

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Been common knowledge for a while this....the box room, holiday chalet type box flats in Birmingham City Centre aren't fit for social housing.

Says it all really.

Be a bit gutted if you'd paid 200k for a 2 bed box on Brindley Place or wherever, and they aren't even fit for someone on the DSS.

:lol:

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It has emerged that developers desperate to shift the one and two bedroom flats – branded the “slums of tomorrow†by a senior councillor

Wonder if thats one of the same councillors sitting on the planning comittees that allowed these monstrosities to be built in the first place. Wouldnt surprise me sadly. :angry:

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They must have granted planning for the scheme, though.

Not a question of backhanders (as the aptly named Daftboy suggests). If the building meets with the current legislation the council have little or no grounds to object and indeed councillors may be liable to be personally surcharged if they do object and the developers win an appeal to the secretary of state.

And if you think that's down to ZaNuLiebor - you can thank the late (and unlamented) Nicholas Ridley - famous NIMBY.

Perhaps what Birmingham should do is exactly what they are doing - all political parties seem united in the view that it's not their job to bail-out private developers who get it wrong. Moral hazard on the council tax seems a no-no.

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Not a question of backhanders (as the aptly named Daftboy suggests).

:lol::lol::lol: Oh how sweet and naive. I was required to pay backhanders to birmingham city council officials in the seventies. Do you think it is different today ?

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:lol::lol::lol: Oh how sweet and naive. I was required to pay backhanders to birmingham city council officials in the seventies. Do you think it is different today ?

More likely they saw you coming....

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Well I'm not normaly a fan of local councils but I agree with this- why should council tax be used to bail out developers who built substandard crap in the hope of making a fast buck.

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If you want to see a real scandal, go to Liverpool, count the number of perfectly habitable boarded up houses, and then google Liverpool City Council's involvement in the local property market.

Criminal..

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Usual government duplicity.

Why on earth wouldn't the minimum criteria for social housing and the granting of planning for private housing be the same?

Because you wouldn't then be able to employ more people to administer both.

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Remind me, what is the purpose of the council's planning department again?

Why did these rabbit hutches get built in the first place?

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wtf, have the chinese bought Birmingham or something

They bought the car industry. Much of the "investment" ,like the population, in the city now comes from overseas

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Remind me, what is the purpose of the council's planning department again?

Why did these rabbit hutches get built in the first place?

in case you hadn't noticed we've lived through what many have called a 10-year pwoperty bubble.

kerching!!!!

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in case you hadn't noticed we've lived through what many have called a 10-year pwoperty bubble.

kerching!!!!

But if the planning departments had been doing their job, we would have a nice new stock of luxurious super insulated spacious homes to show for it.

Instead of soon to be demolished pieces of crap.

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But if the planning departments had been doing their job, we would have a nice new stock of luxurious super insulated spacious homes to show for it.

Instead of soon to be demolished pieces of crap.

doubtless, under the tag of 'regeneration' any daft high rise project or appendage shaped 'iconic' development is given the green light if it means the authority also happens to make a mint by selling the land. authority can point to people moving back into abandoned city centres....

Everyone's a winner, planning dept. by not obstructing regeneration, authority by getting a big, fat cheque and a vanity project or two, developers who make a mint on overhyped shite boxes. i'm sure it's a tad more complicated than that and there's extensive consultation - how boring in the middle of a bubble, eh ? like banks asking for proof of income before doleing out 100% mortgages :lol:

and then the bubble bursts. and nobody learns a damn thing,

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But they could be bought by BTL LLs to rent to people who do not meet the standards for social housing.

'standards' for social housing ? :lol:

yeah, that's one way of describing the means testing. :lol:

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Birmingham Mail

Getting a sense of deja-vu here.

hmm ... so I have to pay high taxes so some un-employable individuals (aka waste of society) can live for free in a better place than me ...

and this is called: social justice

one day I will find a place, where hard working creative individuals are rewarded for their effort ....

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Clearly built for "property investors" who probably paid £10k to InsideTrack 5 years ago for the privelege of having one, under the insightful promise that they could flip them for a lot more should the unprecidented housing bubble continue to rise beyond the unfathomable heights they'd already apparently achieved. It must suck to be the loser who actually bought one to now realise what is what. There can be no excuse for it when an hour on google could have resulted in better investment advice <_<

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Well I'm not normaly a fan of local councils but I agree with this- why should council tax be used to bail out developers who built substandard crap in the hope of making a fast buck.

I think it's time the standards of what DHS "customers" can demand should be revised. I doubt the flats are worth less than what someone on the minimum wage could afford to buy (40k or so ?). They are good enough for social housing unless the unemployed need better accommodation than those in work.

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