Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Anger as 'The Smartest Council House in Britain' Is Left Empty

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Anger as 'The Smartest Council House in Britain' Is Left Empty

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT MENDICK Chief Reporter

A [pounds sterling]1.2 MILLION council house has been boarded up for weeks after a couple were evicted for not having enough children.

Neighbours living in the private mews in Chelsea are outraged that the property, probably Britain's smartest council house, has since been left empty.

Campaign groups have branded it an "obscene" waste with more than 50,000 people living in temporary accommodation across London.

Windows and doors at the threestorey, Georgian terrace have been boarded up to prevent squatters moving in.

Jamie Pascall, 34, had lived in the house in Billing Street since he was a teenager, taking over the tenancy when his grandmother died three years ago. He had helped to look after his grandmother, who could not read or write and who had lived in the house for about 30 years.

However, Kensington and Chelsea council claimed he and Charlene Imbert, who have one 10-year-old daughter, did not have enough children to entitle them to live in the four-bedroom house.

Mr Pascall's brother Gavin, a police community support officer, was also ordered out -- he claimed he was told he was not entitled to a council house as he had a full-time job .

Only two of the brightly coloured houses in Billing Street are owned by the council and looked after by the local authority's Tenant Management Organisation. The rest are in private hands. The last to sell fetched close to [pounds sterling]1.3 million.

Residents in the mews, which is in the shadow of Stamford Bridge and blocked to general traffic by a barrier, have included actresses Britt Ekland and Susan Hampshire and pop star James Blunt.

The family fought eviction for three years but finally lost their case. In February, days before they were due to be evicted, Jamie Pascall agreed to move his family to a council-owned two-bedroom flat in a high rise in Shepherd's Bush.

Gavin Pascall told today of his family's distress at being evicted. …

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