Good news for property values in Belgravia. The residents will no longer have to worry about the extra security risk and, hopefully, the parking restrictions caused by the misleadingly named "Government house in Pimlico".
The property at 62 South Eaton Place, next to The Belgravia pub, is definitely in the super rich Belgravia district of London, rather than the council estates of Pimlico, and was valued at least £2.4 million on 1st April 2006.
[picture credit Associated Press / Barry Phillips]
[picture credit Daily Telegraph / Peter Payne]
The rumours that gilded cage prison (with bullet and blast resistant windows, CCTV cameras, alarms etc.) is to be sold off was confirmed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, when listing the latest Grace and Favour houses currently allocated to Cabinet Ministers, several fewer, it has to be said, than during Tony Blair's time as Prime Minister:
Written answers Wednesday, 17 October 2007
Ministers: Grace and Favour Housing
Gordon Brown (Prime Minister)
holding answer 15 October 2007
The ministerial residence in South Eaton Place, Pimlico, is no longer required and it will be sold, with the proceeds going to the Exchequer.
This residence was made available to the then Home Secretary Michael "something of the night" Howard, by the last Conservative government some time between 1993 and 1997 - was it used by any of his predecessors ?
However, since then it was used by the a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Blunkett" target="_wpdb" title="">notorious David Blunkett, but not by any other Cabinet Ministers since March 2006.
Blunkett first moved in during his controversial stint as a Cabinet Minister, firstly as the Education Secretary from 1997 to 2001 whose policies led to so much trouble in schools and universities later on, and, then as the incompetent and repressive Home Secretary from 2001 until his resignation in disgrace in December 2004.
Incredibly he was allowed to stay on at 62 South Eaton Place for nearly the next 6 months, rent and council tax free, until he was re-appointed to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions after the May 2005 General Election.
Even after his second resignation in disgrace from the Cabinet as Secretary for Work and Pensions, in November 2005, he stayed on, again, rent and council tax free, for nearly another 5 months until March 2006.
Will the bureaucrats remember to rescind the relevant section of The Road Traffic (Special Parking Area) (City of Westminster) (Amendment) Order 1996 ?
"181A. South Eaton Place (so far as it lies to the south west of a line down the centre of the carriageway) between its junction with Ebury Street and the party wall of Numbers 54 and 56 South Eaton Place."