Debate about empty homes on The Bishops Avenue continues
In recent days there has been much debate about the many empty mansions on North London’s The Bishops Avenue. Uproar from campaigners against homelessness has been accompanied by justification from residents and estate agents.
The son of the owners of a permanently occupied house on the road named Pablo Teixeira waded into the controversy yesterday and told the Evening Standard that it is “great” that a third of properties lie empty as it “means that it is peaceful and quiet”. He continued:
“If they buy the property they can do what they like with it. It is up to them. It isn’t a scam, they are not taking anything from anybody… They pay a lot of tax to afford a property here. Council tax is extremely expensive. I understand the curiosity but people shouldn’t be poking their noses in it”.
This 35-year old works in a job that would most certainly not cover a month’s rent on the 12-bedroom residence where he lives. Teixeria is a support manager at The Millbank Estate Management Organisation and is also said to share his home with a friend. For the son of someone of wealthy means who would surely have grown up surrounded by privilege, he also strangely commented: “We have gold wallpaper and our taps are real gold”.
Of the comments received beneath the article, many attacked Teixeria as a “spoof” and a “plonker”. Some suggested that the house he lives in actually belongs to someone else named Nigel and that he was just a friend of another Brazilian man who lives there with him. These have since been removed.
Separately, on the 2nd February, the Mail Online highlighted that some houses on this, the second most expensive street in Britain, have been derelict for upto a quarter of a century and “left to the mercy of the elements”. Others such as Heath Hall, owned by property developer Andreas Panayiotou, have sat empty as they have failed to sell despite a price reduction from £100 million to £65 million.
One of Britain’s most successful estate agents, Trevor Abrahmsohn, the founder of Glentree Estates and an individual who has previously featured on our pages, spoke out against critics of the owners of empty homes. He told the Mail Online:
“One of the things people love about this country is its freedom and liberal views… You can’t start affecting what people do with their assets. That is sacrosanct”.
Though the sight of empty homes whilst so many are homeless seems immoral, Abrahmsohn is right. A property owner has the right to do whatever they see fit as long as it is within the law.
Equally, what most have failed to mention is that change and redevelopment are on the way on The Bishops Avenue. LJ Capital, co-founded by Harry Lawson-Johnston and his brother Edward, paid £80 million for ten houses on the street in October 2013. They plan to build one mansion and an apartment complex on the 5-acre site. On this basis and though The Bishops Avenue might be “one of the best known addresses in the world”, it’s actually just a street like any other. It’s a street where people come and one where people go.
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