The national (and international) media have been expressing their incredulity about the letting of a clearly awful flat on Kember Street off the Cally Road (behind the Co-Op) for over £700 per month (Guardian, Independent, Huffington Post). It isn’t clear if the flat was in the Residence Primrose building which we have covered before. They haven’t picked up yet that this is symptomatic of the huge problems that Cally has had with inappropriate properties created by rogue landlords over the last two decades – not a recent symptom of the London property market.
This was brought to public attention in the brilliant BBC ‘Secret History of Our Streets’ documentary in 2012. Which first lifted the rock to reveal a glimpse of a large scale local landlord who was subdividing properties into smaller and smaller units as he ‘milked the cally like a cow’. Further work by the council revealed that one landlord owned over 100 properties locally. Some of his tenants picked this up in the #callycows campaign. I reported on the huge community meeting at which the council planning officers were unable to explain how they had allowed a slum empire to develop on such a scale. Whilst individual landlords are of course responsible for creating tinier and tinier properties, the #callycows work revealed that the council planning officers didn’t seem to have had a grip on the issue for a decade or two in the face of a systematic build first, ask permission later approach to development.
Cllr Paul Convery has commented below that the council has put enforcement action in train. Councillors objected to yet more flats of this sort being built above the Co-Op in 2011. The Gazette reports that the estate agent has been receiving threatening calls. And here is coverage in the Evening Standard, Irish Independent, LBC, The Metro (which I see is linking back to this sites work in 2006) and Buzzfeed,