Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Transfer of property to go ahead

THE transfer of ownership of an uninhabited building in Watlington could finally happen after more than four years of negotiations.

The parish council agreed in October 2018 to become the sole trustee of the Charlotte Coxe Trust, which oversees 33 High Street and the library next door.

Both properties were left to Oxfordshire County Council in 1949 by Charlotte Coxe, who founded the library for the benefit of the people of Watlington.

No 33 has not been occupied since Age Concern moved out in 2009 and needs significant work to make it habitable again.

Councillor Freddie Van Mierlo, who represents Watlington at Oxfordshire County Council, told a meeting of the parish council he had been pushing for the project to finally go ahead.

He said: “I’ve had a really productive session with the council and we gained some momentum on this. I visited the library and number 33 and saw for myself the wasted potential, so I am really conscious of the delay.

“The next step will be getting some legal advice and hopefully that will start unblocking some of the blockages, looking into the legality of the transfer.”

In January last year, the parish council asked the county council to take urgent action to complete the transfer and to respond within the month.

Since 2017, the parish council has been negotiating the transfer of ownership of No 33, which it wants to use to fulfil Mrs Coxe’s wishes.

A spokesman for the county council said: “There is an awareness that people want to see this matter drawn to a conclusion. We are working as quickly as possible to ensure that this process can be progressed. However we must make sure that is done correctly at each stage.”

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