The building has been abandoned for as long as I can remember (I might just remember it being a shop, but it’s such a long time ago I’m not sure if it’s a false memory) and for a long time the council were trying to get the old owner to renovate and bring it back into use, eventually using the threat of a compulsory purchase order which seemed to prompt the owner into action. Sadly it was not to be, and they went through the motions to buy time. Eventually the council went through with the CPO and became the owner for a short while.
The building formally got new owners at the end of last month when the contract of sale was completed, and as part of the purchase deal they have an obligation to bring the building back into use.
This obligation is time-limited, and the details depend on the buyer’s wishes (they have slightly longer if they wish to apply for their own planning permission rather than use the one the council obtained) but the short story is that the building will now be made secure, renovated and brought back into use, either by letting or selling the retail and residential parts.
There is a part of me that is a little cynical, having seen the issue drag on for so long, but with luck we should start seeing work done on the building in the very near future and – at long last – start to see that down-at-heel corner of Lavender Hill start to improve.