Oxford Mail'Improvements' work under fire (From Oxford Mail)

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'Improvements' work under fire

Oxford Mail: Ruth Wilkinson with Sarah and Innes King at the property Ruth Wilkinson with Sarah and Innes King at the property

For years, Headington residents have battled for improvements to be made to a crumbling and derelict house.

So when builders appeared at 29 Old High Street, on Thursday, there was a collective intake of breath as it looked like work was beginning.

But the “improvements”, which so far consist of a 5ft breeze-block wall, have sparked a fresh row.

Headington city councillor David Rundle said: “We have had a lot of residents contacting us about this. People are angry.

“What has happened is that a house which desperately needed improvements is now even more of an eyesore.”

Developer Martin Young, from Headington Hill, bought the 19th century house in 1978.

It has stood empty for the past five years and has been the subject of planning applications, enforcement orders, appeals and court actions.

Mr Young was issued with an enforcement order by Oxford City Council telling him to improve and tidy up the house by March 12.

Mr Rundle said: “This whole situation could have been sorted out in a much quicker, cheaper and more amicable way, if there had been good will.”

Mr Young wants to knock down the house and build five new homes in its place, but was refused planning permission last December.

He has now lodged an appeal with the Government’s Planning Inspectorate.

Friends of Old Headington chairman Sarah King said: “I think he’s just being difficult, he’s playing a game. The Friends would just like to see the place being put in good order and sold as a family house. It’s a perfectly-good house.

“It’s the first house you see when you come into the conservation area and this is not what we want to see.”

Mr Young said he was carrying out the work to comply with the council order.

He said: “I thought this would make a few people a bit happier.

“I had a bit of money, so I thought I would now do something and repair the wall.

“Originally the job was going to cost a reasonable price, but then I was told the job was more complicated than we had previously thought.

“So I had to do the repairs in a way that wasn’t going through the roof money-wise.”

He added: “I thought any wall was better than no wall, providing security and satisfying the council.”

Mr Young said the house’s roof and rear fencing would also be repaired soon.

Council spokesman Chris Lee said officers would investigate whether the building materials being used were permitted in a conservation area.

He said: “We have been informed of this building work. We will now investigate the site and decide what action, if any, needs to be taken.”

Comments (7)

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10:15am Sat 14 Apr 12

grumpyofwhitecross says...

He is obviously not intending to follow the building rules in the conservation area, so let's let the council get the work done and then bill him for the work, otherwise he will use " bodgeitt and scarper " and it will end up looking worse than it is now.
He is obviously not intending to follow the building rules in the conservation area, so let's let the council get the work done and then bill him for the work, otherwise he will use " bodgeitt and scarper " and it will end up looking worse than it is now. grumpyofwhitecross
  • Score: 0

10:17am Sat 14 Apr 12

brianbbleys says...

this blokes just taking the p**s out of everyone. he knows darn well that the repair should have been done in Cotswold Stone, fine him and teach him a lesson, he's a so-called builder so he knows the score
this blokes just taking the p**s out of everyone. he knows darn well that the repair should have been done in Cotswold Stone, fine him and teach him a lesson, he's a so-called builder so he knows the score brianbbleys
  • Score: 0

10:49am Sat 14 Apr 12

xjohnx says...

He is obviously not going to do the work.
The council should do the work and charge him.
He is obviously not going to do the work. The council should do the work and charge him. xjohnx
  • Score: 0

11:34am Sat 14 Apr 12

Harsh@home says...

How about a compuslory purchase order and then repair the building, with the funds coming from the coucil tax which would be hiked for the "Friends of Old Headington" only?
How about a compuslory purchase order and then repair the building, with the funds coming from the coucil tax which would be hiked for the "Friends of Old Headington" only? Harsh@home
  • Score: 0

3:28am Sun 15 Apr 12

L0RD PETER McVEY OX2 6EG says...

Do these supposedly intelligent people not realise that the more they go to the press and complain the more Mr Young will do to get equal with them. Well done with the Breeze Blocks, that is a classic and for a couple of hundred quid you have really got them going. All you need to do now is to "invite" a group of Cowley Rd squatters to move in. I would pay to see the faces of King and Wilkinson if that happened. Keep up the good work Mr Young, the people are with you on this one.
Do these supposedly intelligent people not realise that the more they go to the press and complain the more Mr Young will do to get equal with them. Well done with the Breeze Blocks, that is a classic and for a couple of hundred quid you have really got them going. All you need to do now is to "invite" a group of Cowley Rd squatters to move in. I would pay to see the faces of King and Wilkinson if that happened. Keep up the good work Mr Young, the people are with you on this one. L0RD PETER McVEY OX2 6EG
  • Score: 0

6:41pm Sun 15 Apr 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

I have no doubt that Mr Young has a comprensive understanding of practical engagement with the local authorities.

The next step in the game with the council will be for OCC to demand Mr Y stop undertaking futher works until they can be satisfied that those works are suitable.

I passed by the wall shortly after it was built (you can park for free further along for 2 hours to avoid Headington car park tax) - The wall is around 150cm tall, but only single-depth breeze block.

It rather looks like a strong sneeze would result in it collapsing onto the pavement.
I have no doubt that Mr Young has a comprensive understanding of practical engagement with the local authorities. The next step in the game with the council will be for OCC to demand Mr Y stop undertaking futher works until they can be satisfied that those works are suitable. I passed by the wall shortly after it was built (you can park for free further along for 2 hours to avoid Headington car park tax) - The wall is around 150cm tall, but only single-depth breeze block. It rather looks like a strong sneeze would result in it collapsing onto the pavement. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

8:01am Tue 17 Apr 12

simplicissimus says...

Looks a bit like Magdalen's Longwall repair.

OCityC sucks. Bully for Mr young!
Looks a bit like Magdalen's Longwall repair. OCityC sucks. Bully for Mr young! simplicissimus
  • Score: 0

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