An investigation is underway by Croydon Council in to the circumstances of how a teenage boy arrested in connection with terror offences came to live in an apparent unsupervised House of Multiple Occupancy.
This has also exposed a bigger debate about Thornton Heath being used by other London boroughs to house vulnerable adults and young people because of the proliferation of large Victorian houses converted in to HMOs.
The three storey house, 13 St Paul’s Road, where the boy was living was being used by Lambeth Council to house its tenants because it is cheaper to house them in Croydon than it is in an inner London borough.
Worse still wealthy property owners are profiteering from deprived communities and these housing conditions are excerbating social issues.
While there are no objections to the principle of making money in this way many of these absentee landlords not only fail to maintain these houses but leave tenants to live in unsuitable conditions.
Turn to page 2 to read how an NHS surgeon turned landlord faces being banned from owning properties. https://www.thechronicle.website/landlords-face-ban-for-renting-this-to-a-family/
The St Paul’s Road property was purchased by 35BR Limited in 2013 for £650,000, and is registered as a HMO wth a license for a maximum of 13 people to stay in the six bedroom property. Property tycoon Gillian fielding, 60, is listed as a current director of 35BR. She appeared on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire and owns Fielding Financial which shares property investing and wealth creation tips.
At the Labour Party conference Jeremy Corbyn used his closing speech to focus on housing – pledging to force slum landlords to bring their homes up to scratch.
The Thornton Heath Community Action team has asked the council to investigate ways of restricting these tycoons from profiteering from poverty in this way, but has been told it would require government legislation.
The council is putting together a case for Article 4 which will be presented to the Secretary of State in December. This would withdraw permitted development rights and give planners greater powers over applications to convert the houses in Thornton Heath for multi occupancy use.
THCAT is also lobbying for greater parity in the way the north of the borough is treated and at meeting with council chiefs and MP Steve Reed, called for action in tackling issues from fly tipping, to the growing number of empty shops and the general perception of widespread lawlessness.
Deputy leader Alison Butler confirmed that there was an investigation underway in to the “full circumstances” of the St Paul’s Road HMO.
For 24 hours Thornton Heath became the spotlight for the national press fixated on the arrest of the 17-year-old who was detained under section 41 of the Terrorism Act in connection with the Parsons Green terror attack.
The next day the boy was released without charge with police saying no further action would be taken against him.
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