Rhondda Cynon Taf Council purchased Rhos House Surgery 55 Oxford Street Mountain Ash 28 June 2019
As a follow up to the report on AberdareOnline on the 9 December 2019 regarding Rhos House Surgery 55 Oxford Street Mountain Ash, as the building is still unoccupied and at the time the council said that they had secured a new occupier for the building who’ll take up occupancy once the property is vacated.
AberdareOnline has contacted the Council about the still vacant property.
Ref: Former Rhos House Surgery 55A Oxford Street Mountain Ash
The council purchased the above property on 28 June 2019 for £150.000 with council taxpayers money.
Your Twitter account reports “RCT acquired Rhos House/55A Oxford Street prior to the building going to auction. As with other prominent buildings in town centres, RCT has taken a proactive approach to ensure the building doesn’t fall empty/sold to absentee landlords once Doctors relocates to new health centre”
The council also recorded in December 2019 that you “Already, RCT has secured a new occupier for the building, who’ll take up occupancy once property is vacated. As result, there’s no cost to public of this proactive transaction and will ensure prominent building in Mt Ash continues to be utilised for benefit of residents/businesses”
28 months have now passed since you purchased the property and the building has been vacant since March this year for almost 8 months.
I do believe the council taxpayers have a right to know your intentions with this property, as you report you have a client to quote you “who’ll take up occupancy once property is vacated.”
As the council has tied up £150,000 of taxpayers money for 28 months with no return and no information, just who is the mystery occupier that will be taking up occupancy of this building in Mountain Ash? There are at the moment no planning applications pending for the above property showing up on the Planning Register.
There are many more empty buildings in Mountain Ash and Aberdare has the council purchased additional properties? “As with other prominent buildings in town centres, RCT has taken a proactive approach to ensure the building doesn’t fall empty/sold to absentee landlords”?
The response from the council below.
"The property was occupied by the former GP practice until the end of February 2021, and prior to the Covid pandemic we had agreed heads of terms with an organisation to purchase the building once the GP Practice had moved to the new purpose built surgery. Unfortunately, due to the impact of the pandemic on the prospective purchaser’s business, they withdrew from the heads of terms agreement.
Nevertheless, we are currently in discussion with another organisation to let the building with the intention of agreeing lease terms before Christmas.
During the period of occupancy of the former GP practice the Council received rental income. By purchasing the property the Council prevented a potential absentee landlord, often from London or overseas, acquiring the property and leaving it vacant for many years. This has been our experience in a number of towns across the County Borough and progressing the development of empty buildings has been onerous. Therefore the Council has become more proactive stepping in, rather than rely on the market, and ensuring the best outcome for the town. Our intervention in the former Rhos Surgery also provided the GP practice with flexibility on when they had to move into the new surgery, ensuring a seamless transfer of services.
I appreciate we cannot please everyone, but in the case of the former Rhos Surgery we have acted in the best interests of Mountain Ash and in the coming months the building will be reoccupied."
AberdareOnline has been informed that the council has purchased additional property in Mountain Ash is this correct if so perhaps the council will provide a list of all property it has purchased throughout RCT?