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Plea to council to save prime Chelsea location from dereliction
AN IRANIAN owned plot left dilapidated and rat-infested for 25 years must be taken over by the council, claim an angry resident's association.
South Kensington and Queensgate Residents Association have been battling to stop an Iranian embassy and cultural centre being established on the Queensgate site and the plans have just been withdrawn. Recently, the site has been used as a car park.
The association is pressing the council to attach a compulsory purchase order to the land in the hope it would be developed in keeping with the area.
Association chairwoman Caryl Harris said: "If there was ever a time to get that disused site back, it is now. It occupies a prime position in South Kensington yet has been derelict and rat infested for over 25 years. It is a huge site and needs to be restored.
"This is the richest borough in the country and land like that laid to waste for all that time is a travesty.
"The council must put a compulsory purchase order on the site so it can be sold and developed with the money being put back into the area."
MP for Kensington Sir Malcolm Rifkind sympathises with the residents and has called on the council to consider the options for the site.
He said: "I have every sympathy with the resident's association, however there are many legal issues to be considered in such an action.
"The site has been empty for over 25 years and there is nothing coming from the Iranians, so other options should be looked at. I am not surprised to hear people are calling for a CPO but this would have to be handled incredibly sensitively."
A spokesman for Kensington and Chelsea Council said it had no plans to compulsorily purchase the land.
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