Indian restaurant businessman who owns 'eyesore' Cowplain house spends £60,000 to avoid formal action and says sorry to residents
A BUSINESSMAN who owns a ‘dangerous eyesore’ house that has a plagued a neighbourhood for years has spent £60,000 getting the property up to scratch following a formal council notice and said: ‘I apologise to the residents, I’m not proud.’
As reported, people living in Kings Road, Cowplain, were left fuming at the state of No.6 in the road after it was bought at auction in 2014 by Indian restaurant owner Kaz Miah for £207,000.
Complaints have included a cracked bay window that has been boarded up with plywood for years, loose slates on the roof, a damaged front door that was left ajar and an overgrown garden.
Rubbish was left dumped around the sides including a sofa, cooker and carpet while rats were seen scuttling around the property and nearby in the peaceful road where several pensioners live.
Havant Borough Council issued a formal notice that took effect on October 22 leaving the owner with two months to comply.
The deadline of December 22 passed without all works being completed but residents admitted they were pleased to see progress – with work now nearly finished but for a snagging list.
Mr Miah, speaking to The News, said he has gone ‘above and beyond’ in getting the house finished. ‘It is all pretty much new what we have done with the inside of the house,’ he said.
‘The external stuff is 95 per cent done. There is a little more to do with the garden overgrown and we have a snagging list. The garden was not part of what we were required to do but we are still sorting it. We had problems with this after I paid someone to clear it and they said one of their employees ran off with the money.
‘It just needs to be turfed out now and I will be getting a gardener to come in once a week. We’ve also had random people chucking stuff in it.
‘There’s also been people caught inside the house with bags of fly-tipping.
‘We’ve had issues with other workers promising to do work but not turning up due to Covid. The council said they were unable to inspect due to Covid as well.’
Mr Miah explained how he had bitten off more than he could chew after buying the house. ‘I bought it as a convenience as it’s near one of my restaurants but soon afterwards I thought “what have I done?” after realising all the work that needed to be done to it,’ he said.
‘I knew that once I started doing some work I would be committed to doing all of it and it would cost a lot of money. But I’ve ended up spending £60,000 now anyway even though 2020 was a difficult year with all my restaurants closed due to Covid.
‘I apologise to the residents of Kings Road, I’m not proud of the state I left it but it is nearly done and is now like a brand new house.’
Mike Groom, 66, who has lived in the road for 37 years and was heavily critical of the owner and council previously, said he was pleased to see progress.
He said roof tiles had been replaced, plastic windows at the front had been replaced, a lot of debris in the rear garden had been removed and a new front door had been put on.
There was also new guttering and the inside of the house now looked ‘very smart’ after having new electrics and plastering.
The house still needed to be repointed though, he said.
‘They are getting on very well, they are trying as hard as they can to get things done,’ he said.
‘Workmen have been there at weekends and evenings. Even though some bits still need doing it is good to see things moving – that was our main point.’
A spokeswoman for the council said ‘when (a notice) has not been complied with, it is open to the council to consider taking direct action or proceeding with prosecution for non-compliance’.
But that ‘consideration to the extent of works will be taken into account before determining any future course of action’.
The spokeswoman added: ‘Due to the current coronavirus restrictions, we have been unable to carry out a compliance inspection.
‘Therefore, our officers have not yet been able to conclude that the notice has been fully complied with. We are continuing to monitor and engage with the landlord.’