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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Campaign against latest Foxtons branch gathers pace

A proposed Foxtons branch in Elephant and Castle has been criticised by a local councillor as the campaign against it begins to gather pace. 

Councillor Mark Williams, a cabinet minsiter for Southwark, has said that he will work with the local community to stop Foxtons entering the area.

"An estate agents at this location is not part of our plan,” he said. 

Earlier in the week Estate Agent Today reported that in April Foxtons lodged a planning application to move into The Elephant & Castle pub.

The 250-year-old pub was closed recently after a stabbing incident and Foxtons could move in by mid-June if the site is not awarded Asset of Community Value status under the Localism Act. 

Fifty six days after the application was made the site’s change of use will be automatically permitted. In this event Foxtons would not need to gain planning permission to takeover the building.  

On Wednesday there had been no comments made against Foxtons’ planning application on the Southwark Council website. 

However, since then – after receiving mainstream media coverage – there have now been four comments and more people have spoken out against the idea of an estate agents in the area, including councillor Williams. 

"We have a clear vision for the Elephant & Castle, and with TfL we are creating a vibrant new square for London," he told the SE1 news website.

"We want pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes so people spend time here rather than just pass through.”

One comment on the Southwark Council website says that a Foxtons branch will not ’enhance’ or ‘help’ the area or its residents in any way. And that the local community is already served by Foxtons’ Borough branch.

Another says: “Although a pub may not be the best way for the space to serve the local community, it would be far more beneficial than a Foxton's [sic].” 

This latest move is part of the London agency’s ‘branch opening programme’ which is being managed by commercial agent Montagu Evans. 

Foxtons was given a ‘sell’ rating by broker Peel Hunt this week which caused its shares to fall. 

Peel Hunt said that the growth of online agents is one of several ‘long-term headwinds’ facing the estate agency sector. 

  • Jon  Tarrey

    Good to hear. We can't just roll over and let these all-powerful super agencies try to take over the world with their ridiculous expansion plans.

  • Daniel Roder

    Yes, I think most people will be behind this. The public seems to be fed up of Foxtons and they don't seem to be getting a message. It's almost a 'no-one likes us but we don't care' mentality. You know, we'll just keep on opening new branches whether you like it or not.

    I'd argue they've got the worst reputation of any estate agents. If they carry on like this, they'll be even more unpopular. Paradoxically, they're very successful. It makes no sense. (I know they do a lot of high-end business so I'm sure that keeps them ticking over nicely).

  • Robert  McKechnie

    They don't really help themselves, do they? As Daniel says, they almost seem to enjoy being so bullish and confrontational, they seem to thrive off the bad reputation and negative press. Not sure it's a particularly good long-term business plan, but a small part of me admires their brutal effectiveness.

    Having said that, facing opposition every time you open a branch is a probably a sign that you should reconsider your strategy. Reputation is everything in estate agency, if Foxtons' gets much worse the brand will become completely toxic. We've already seen their profits suffer a bit in recent years, so they might want to show a bit more restraint.

  • icon

    I'm no fan of Foxtons (they are typical daft hair, fat tie estate/letting agents), but referring to the pub as '250-year-old' is really like Trigger in Only Fools and Horses having the same brush his entire career. The pub name may be 250-years-old, but the building it is in is from the 1960s and the actual pub itself is an absolute dump. It makes the pub in Shameless look like a Gordon Ramsey restaurant.

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    Interesting viewpoint Nick. I don't know the area, are you saying it would be better served by a Foxtons then?

  • Neil Briggs

    Yes, Nick, that's a tad misleading. I'm not a fan of Foxtons 'we want it all and we want it now' approach to expansion, but it doesn't really sound like this building is best served by remaining as a pub. Given the stabbing incident and given, as you say, the fact that it's a bit of a dump.

    I don't think another Foxtons branch is the best use for it, but maybe new flats would be an option. There's certainly the demand.

  • Algarve  Investor

    Foxtons, Foxtons, Foxtons. When will they learn? On the other hand, I agree with the idea that they don't really care what people think of them. They're like the Tesco or Chelsea of the property world - being stupidly successful while also being hated by nearly everyone.

  • Tom  Harrington

    Firstly Foxtons do it now, think later attitude will almost definitely not help its public perception.

    Secondly, online agents should be challenging the ways in which the industry operates. Our growth in the industry simply highlights that a brilliant service can be carried out charging only a fraction of the fees which some high street agents such as Foxtons charge.

    I also agree with Neil that using it to create housing instead wouldn't be a bad idea.

  • icon

    Good luck to Foxtons I say. I live near Elephant & Castle, the pub is an eye sore and there are no Agents located close by. All these "nasty Foxtons" quotes are ridiculous (and probably made by mediocre Agents losing market share...). You may not like them but Foxtons are a highly successful company expanding into new areas. Deal with it!

  • icon

    Sounds like you work for them Paul.

  • icon

    Actually with your tone and defense for an agent with such a bad reputation you definitely work for them. Regardless if any of the comments are by other agents or not it's undeniable that they are expanding yes and why an agency with such little emphasis for customer service or an ounce of integrity is still used by people that clearly think that bigger is better is beyond me.

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