Yesterday, the blog was receiving a few hits for "Alistair Darling" and "Imperial Court". Since the analytics quite often reveal news that I know nothing about, I did a very quick google search and found an ancient comment on an old news article from 2006 linking Mr Darling with Imperial Court. I decided that a 4 year old headline wasn't newsworthy and ignored the matter, but it hasn't gone away because, lo and behold...
An article appeared yesterday in the filthy Daily Fail, which seems to implicate Mr Darling in the cash for second homes wheeze on which MPs are currently being quizzed. The Fail claims that Alistair Darling bought a flat in Imperial Court in 2005, designated it as his second home three years ago (I think they must have meant 2005) and declared that it had been let out in 2007. Essentially, Mr Darling has done nothing wrong, but has been being clever with the "second home allowance", swapping his second residence between Imperial Court and his Scottish house. I can't see that he has broken the rules, but he has bent them to suit himself. Wealthy British citizens bend the law to avoid being taxed. Poor British citizens bend the law to gain maximum government benefits. MPs get away with bending the regulations because the second home allowance regulations are broken, and they're exploiting a loop hole. Big deal? Not really. The regulations just need to be fixed. So the £40k that British tax payers have shelled out for Imperial Court does not seem to imply financial irregularity on the part of Mr Darling. It's just cheeky.
But the most interesting part of the whole question is quite why anybody would want to own a flat in Imperial Court, SE11. The flats appeared to undergo some kind of developer duplication process, so the interiors are identical, and not tasteful. Many of the carpets are cream, and the ones that I've seen now need replacement! For the most part, their kitchens are small. Some of them have a nasty view over the back of the wasteland near Tesco, overlooking the gasometers. The flats at the front suffer from the noise of Kennington Lane. The apartments do have a gymn and sauna in the basement, but such facilities probably mean that the flats have high service charges. The concierge must cost a considerable amount! That said, some of the flats are reasonably sized, but they're nothing special. I wonder if I can demonstrate what I mean.
Here are some shots of the inside of an Imperial Court residence. This is one from Foxtons. Most of the kitchens look like this one. That fact is demonstated by a quick look at the flat advertised on Gumtree. The flat that Foxtons are advertising has quite a large living room, but they're not all quite so fortunate in that regard. This Gumtree advertised flat is quite a typical example.
I'm not saying that I wouldn't buy a flat in Imperial Court given the opportunity, but I think a four bedroom ex-local authority council property would generate considerably more rental income.
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