Councillor Murad Gassanly reporting back;
The derelict Balmoral Castle Pub on Churchill Gardens Estate has been in scaffolding since 2006 at considerable cost to Council Tax-payers. This is at a time when there is a particular shortage of sheltered accommodation and community-supported homes – specialist types of housing for our ageing population and those living with disabilities. We need as many such homes as possible in Pimlico and wider south Westminster area
As your local Conservative councillor I have been campaigning for the Balmoral Castle site to be used for precisely this type of social housing. Last year I organised a petition which was signed by over 300 Churchill Gardens residents, calling on the Council to prioritise the site for new-build sheltered housing. Westminster Council has now formally responded to the petition. In a Cabinet report issued on 13th of August, the Council;
- “Acknowledges the dilapidated condition of the building and the ongoing costs to keep the building safe and secure;
- Recognises the potential of the site to contribute to the Council’s ambitions to deliver an increase in levels of affordable housing for the residents of Westminster;
- Commits to engaging with the local community and ward members on the opportunities achievable on this site;
- Acknowledges the need for more sheltered and other supportive accommodation in this area.”
This is welcome news and demonstrates real commitment from the Council to deliver on its social housing objectives. As your local councillor I will continue to lobby the Cabinet to move at speed to come up with a proposal. I also hope that local opposition councillors do engage with any future project in good faith and work constructively with the Council to help deliver this much-needed improvement to our great estate.
It is important that we get this right and should, therefore, spend some time developing a good scheme. I’ve lived in Churchill Gardens for nearly twenty years and understand why it is crucial to preserve and enhance the architectural and social value of our estate. That is why it is essential that the local community is not only fully consulted on any proposal which comes forward but is engaged from the outset in developing any future scheme. If you would like to get involved and share any ideas, please contact me directly.