Call to use condemned block in Maida Vale as temporary accommodation

Peebles House is earmarked for demolition but Labour councillors want it used for temporary housing in the interim

Peebles House is earmarked for demolition but Labour councillors want it used for temporary housing in the interim - Credit: Paul Dimoldenberg

Councillors in Maida Vale are calling for a housing block earmarked for demolition to be used for temporary accommodation. 

Peebles House in Carlton Vale has been empty for more than two years and is attracting graffiti and fly tipping.

The nearby former lodge house of Paddington Recreation Ground also sits empty.

Westminster Council says it is "progressing" with the development of a new 65-bed extra care home on the Carlton Dene site but gave no time frames for when the work will begin.

Peebles House will provide 22 family-sized homes for affordable social and intermediate rent. 

Condemned Peebles House in Carlton Vale

Condemned Peebles House in Carlton Vale - Credit: Paul Dimoldenberg

Councillors Geoff Barraclough and Liza Begum are calling on Westminster Council to place homeless families in the empty buildings.

The Labour councillors say the Carlton Dene project has been delayed indefinitely because the council has been unable to find a contractor to build and operate the scheme.  

Cllr Barraclough said: “Residents must be wondering why the council insisted that they move out in such a hurry in 2019.

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"The site is overgrown and covered with graffiti. Why not re-open Peebles House for temporary accommodation until the Carlton Dene project finally begins?” 

Cllr Begum, shadow cabinet member for housing, said: “With Westminster residents often being offered temporary accommodation out of the borough, it is pretty obvious that Peebles House should be brought back into residential use as temporary accommodation.

"Some families have been living outside of the borough for up to 10 years in temporary accommodation hoping to one day move back into Westminster, where they have lived their whole lives.” 

The Conservative-led council's deputy leader, Cllr Tim Mitchell, who is cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said: “The site at Carlton Dene became available after residents were supported to move into the new, dementia-friendly Beachcroft home in Maida Vale – providing better care for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

“The current buildings at Carlton Dene and Peebles House have come to the end of their useful life.

"Plans are in place for them to be demolished as soon as possible before work starts on their replacements. We have listened to residents’ concerns about the current site and have taken action to make sure it is secured, tidied and monitored regularly until the current structures are removed.”

He said different options for the Lodge within the park "are currently being explored" but gave no further details.