5-bed Ashburton Lodge to be auctioned for price of a flat

CROYDON IN CRISIS: Developers and property speculators look set to profit as more public-owned property is to be sold on the cheap.
EXCLUSIVE by STEVEN DOWNES

The Croydon fire-sale, with public property being flogged off in a rush at bargain-basement prices, continues next month with a property auction run by Savills in which a four- or even five-bedroom house set in acres of parkland is going under the hammer at a guide price that’s less than the cost of most one-bed flats in the borough.

Bargain: Ashburton Lodge, for auction from £320,000

The Lodge in Ashburton Park will be auctioned on February 9.

The auctioners’ guide price is just £320,000, representing another potentially huge financial loss to the people of Croydon in the aftermath of the council’s financial collapse in 2020. Smaller four-bedroom houses nearby are on the open market for at least twice that price.

According to the auctioneer’s blurb, Addiscombe Lodge is, “a unique opportunity to acquire an attractive former park keeper’s lodge house situated within Ashburton Park. The property is in need of modernisation and provides an opportunity to reconfigure and extend subject to consents. Surrounding gardens, off-street parking and a garage. Vacant.

“By order of Croydon Council.”

Savills’ description of the property states that it is “a two-storey brick-built former park keeper’s lodge house with an L-shaped footprint and a rear courtyard area. There is an integral store/workshop.” On the ground floor there are three reception rooms, a kitchen and store/workshop, while their are five rooms and a toilet/bathroom on the first floor.

As well as being set within the park, the house also has its own private gardens.

Ashburton Park has gained a degree of national notoriety in the past week, following the fatal stabbing of 15-year-old Zaian Aimable-Lina, a tragedy which is subject of an on-going murder case.

By order of Croydon Council: the blurb as it appears on the auction website

Until recently, the Lodge, what estate agents would doubtless routinely describe as “desirable”, had been the home to council tenants.

Most sources seem to agree that – in common with Croydon Council’s burgeoning reputation for failing to maintain or repair its properties – the Lodge has been left in a pretty poor state. “It could still make a lovely home,” according to one local who visited while the house was occupied.

Of course, because it is going for sale by auction, the council might eventually realise more than the stated guide price. Savills explain, “Guide prices given are indications within 10 per cent upwards or downwards of where the reserve price may be set… Please note they are not an indication of the anticipated sale price or a valuation.”

And they add, “The reserve price is the minimum price at which the property can be sold.” Which suggests that the council has put £300,000 as the very low minimum bid it is prepared to accept for the building, which is yet another casualty of the property market gamble with house-building company Brick by Brick.

The Lodge – which in fact is a Victorian-built servants’ quarters for the former manor house nearby – was one of the sites that Brick by Brick was due to develop.

Opportunity: how the Lodge was earmarked for council profit five years ago

In 2017, when the then chief exec Jo Negrini was splashing the cash on countless consultants, Tyrens did a 76-page report on Ashburton Park, one of six Croydon Destination Parks – Masterplanning which looked at the park and its buildings.

In their report, the consultants had The Lodge listed under “Opportunities” and listed for unspecified “redevelopment”.

You can almost hear the “kerching” in the background and while the report’s author has a Pet Shop Boys number playing on their Spotify…

According to a Katharine Street source, more recently the hope at the council was that the property would yield at least £1million, money to offset the overspend on the refurbishment of Ashburton Hall, another of the council’s “ambitious” schemes which failed to be delivered in the manner promised.

There is growing dissent among elected councillors, though, at what they see as opportunistic asset-stripping of council properties by what they describe as “those government wankers”, meaning the so-called improvement panel that was imposed on Croydon by Whitehall 12 months ago.

This sale follows the disposal of the Croydon Park Hotel site late last year, for a price thought to be around £10million less than the council paid for it in 2018.

“No one is arguing that there were many mistakes made, and that the council’s leadership bulldozed things through without proper debate,” said the source.

£1m overspend: refurbishing the old library in Ashburton Park did not come cheap

“But selling off assets at way below their true market value will only strip the borough of even more money. There should be long and serious questioning – in public – at how the valuations of these properties have been reached, and whether their eventual sale prices represent true best value for Croydon residents.”

The Lodge sale also represents another encroachment on public open space for profit, from a Labour-controlled council that had promised to protect and enhance the borough’s much-cherished parks.

Another lodge building, in Grangewood Park, Thornton Heath, is also up for sale, while the state of Queen’s Gardens – after nearly a half of the town centre open space was given to developers – is the cause of mounting concern to Council Tax-payers.

Meanwhile, if anyone has £320,000 spare and are looking for a doer-upper job on a five-bed house in a south London parkland setting which they could spin and potentially triple their money, the auction details are here.

Read more: Council flogs off hotel for less than £29.8m it cost to buy
Read more: Council planning decisions ‘open to corruption’, says research
Read more: After billions in regeneration deals, might Bingle eye Croydon?

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Addiscombe East, Ashburton, Croydon Council, Croydon parks, Environment, Friends of Ashburton Park and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 5-bed Ashburton Lodge to be auctioned for price of a flat

  1. Lewis White says:

    Surely, this must count as a “Bijou” residence?

    Must as the article says, be worth double the sum quoted. Could it be extended ? Is it true that an extra bedroom adds £100,000 to the value of a house in Croydon??

    Does the valuation reflect the possibility ?

    With regard to the old Library, I would love to see the building replicated by 300%– to make a set of flats like the Whitgift Alms Houses at the Croydon High Street / George Street corner, arranged around a secure courtyard.

    Once upon a time I lived in a mews type house in a big park in a nearby SELondon Borough. It was built with others on the side of the old stables of the nearby grand house. The house came with my job in the Parks department.

    It was great living in the park–and it was very good for security of the park and its buildings that people were a living presence. The security of the park was improved. No buildings were torched by vandals.

    In my view, a sensitive additional 3 blocks that would be the way for the council to make some good money AND safeguard the nearby library building– a beautiful building, but a vulnerable one.

    Do a design brief, and get developers to bid for the right to develop the site. No risk for the council.

  2. John Harvey says:

    Misrepresenting the asking price by overstating a valuer’s opinion might be an offence under S2 Misrepresentation Act 2006. Maximum sentence 10 years

    Whatever the asking price it will attract bids for whatever buyers think it is worth.

    Better to be honest about what a valuer says and avoid the cost and delay of legal limbo

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