Following the fire in a property on Banesberie Close on Saturday morning, Banbury MP Victoria Prentis has written to the Housing Minister and the Chief Executive of Lambeth Council to urge them to complete the transfer of the bungalows as soon as possible.

Victoria said: “I was extremely worried to hear about the fire in one of the empty bungalows in Banesberie Close at the weekend and share everyone’s frustration at the length of time it is taking for the properties to be transferred to Sanctuary Housing. I appreciate that it is particularly worrying for residents in the area.

“Earlier this year, following an email exchange with some of the residents of Banesberie Close and the local District Councillor, John Donaldson, I wrote to the then Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to find out where the application was in the system. In the response I received at the end of April I was told that the transfer was under review and that Lambeth Council would be advised of the decision imminently. At the same time, I also wrote to the Chief Executive of Lambeth Council to emphasise that something needed to be done to the vacant properties so that they were secure and the surrounding areas properly maintained. 

“While I was reassured in the response from Lambeth Council that some remedial work was going to take place, I am disappointed to hear that progress has been slow since then and that Sanctuary Housing are still waiting for the transfer to be completed.

“I have written again to both the Housing Minister and Lambeth Council and made it very clear that the situation needs to be resolved as soon as possible. Residents on the road should be able to feel safe and secure in their properties. Their welfare is my principal concern.”

Local Cherwell District Councillor, John Donaldson added: “I am very frustrated about the situation on Banesberie Close. I know that my fellow councillors, Tony Ilott and Nick Turner, share my concern for the welfare and mental state of the residents. It must be a horrendous situation for everyone living there.”