John Gulliver: Sound and fury signifying a sale

The fate of Dick Collins Hall

Thursday, 17th March

dick collins

Dick Collins Hall being used for a public meeting before its sale

I WAS dismayed this week to discover that land on the proudly public Regent’s Park estate, formerly home to the Dick Collins Hall, is now owned by a property investment firm domiciled on the Isle of Man.

Land Registry documents show that Euston DCH Property Ltd bought the freehold to an 11-private-home new block called “Kentmere” in Redhill Street, Regent’s Park Estate, for £8.1million in April 2021.

The same documents show how the council had “transferred” the deeds to construction firm Lovell’s Partnership in January the year before. No value is attached to this “transfer” in the records.

Mayfair Property Office, which helped broker the deal, says on its website the sale was secured “at significantly below the market value”, adding: “The block was completely off market and it was our networks and relationships that made this deal possible.”

Dick Collins Hall once boasted a lively bar and large hall run by Regent’s Park Tenants’ Association since 1951.

Named after a former mayor of Camden, it was the scene of many packed public meetings about HS2 before the railway project led to its demolition.

In 2015, it was agreed that 116 homes would be jammed into the estate for displaced tenants of three council blocks that were knocked down to make way for the new railway line coming into Euston. HS2 Ltd agreed to fund replacement housing for these tenants in blocks that were built by Lovell’s.

Sensing an opportunity, the council at the same time approved its own planning application for an additional 16 affordable and 11 private flats on the Dick Collins Hall site.

The council said this week it had in 2019 decided not to “directly deliver” the private housing block and instead to “dispose of the land to secure a receipt and reduce exposure to any construction and sales risk”.

The council said at the time when the decision was taken it had built enough replacement homes to mitigate the impact of HS2.

I sense residents living in “virtually uninhabitable” Langdale, Coniston and Cartmel – three blocks within spitting distance of the constant noise and pollution from the main HS2 construction site – will disagree.

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