Derelict eyesore property in Potters Bar now transformed into family home

The Strafford Gate property has now been rented out to families.

The Strafford Gate property has now been rented out to families. - Credit: Hertsmere Borough Council

A formerly derelict Potters Bar property condemned as an eyesore by local residents is now being rented out to families following extensive redevelopment works.

The house in Strafford Gate, which had been empty for more than 10 years, was seized by a council Compulsory Purchase Order in 2018 after the relative of the deceased owner failed to engage with the borough council.

The order meant the house, which required underpinning work to the foundations and repairs to sort out water leaks and damp, became the property of the council in March 2018.

The Strafford Gate property before the transformation.

The Strafford Gate property before the transformation. - Credit: Hertsmere Borough Council

Work started on the property in August 2020 with the council undertaking major structural, conversion and refurbishment work, as well as completely redecorating the property. The house has been transformed into two separate properties - a three bedroom upstairs flat and a two bedroom downstairs flat - occupied by two separate families.

Hertsmere Borough Cllr Caroline Clapper, portfolio holder for property, said: “After more than 15 years empty, it’s tremendously exciting and fulfilling to now see this property home to two families.

“Following our decision to use Compulsory Purchase Order powers to acquire the house, we had the challenging task of bringing it back into use, which involved underpinning to the foundations and major structural repairs.

“I want to thank everyone involved in rescuing this home. Not only can it now be a source of pride for our local communities, but it is a valuable asset, as the rental income will be used to help continue to provide vital services.”

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Hertsmere did not how much they spent on the CPO or how much the refurbishment cost.

Compulsory purchase powers, which were granted under Section 226(1)(b) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, can be used by a range of statutory bodies including local authorities and government departments.

All attempts should be made to buy properties by agreement, but where it is impractical or not possible to reach an agreement, compulsory purchase powers can be considered.

In this case, housing officers repeatedly made attempts to get the owner’s co-operation to improve the property, including offers of loans and advice.

In April 2017, officers began the CPO process. This followed an emergency prohibition order and a boarding up notice being placed on the property as it was considered too dangerous to enter or occupy.

The property had been identified as long-term empty since 2005.