A FAMILY of landlords with a string of properties across Southend are fighting to expand their empire by developing flats above a former takeaway.
The Pang family, who have come in for criticism over the condition of several of their properties rented out to homeless people and mental health patients across the town, want to turn former offices in Prince Avenue, Southend, back into two self-contained flats.
The offices, above the Favorite Chicken & Ribs takeaway, were previously flats, but converted into offices in the Eighties without planning permission when the whole property was owned by Kefco, a franachise group which runs Kentucky Fried Chicken stores across Essex.
Peter Pang, of Southchurch Road, Southend, has made a number of applications to return the vacant offices to the original condition, but two previous applications since last June have been refused.
Chequered past: Hon Shu Pang
The latest application, made this month, is under consideration by Southend Council.
In 2009, an Echo investigation exposed deteriorating conditions in several rented properties owned by the family in Marine Parade, Heygate Avenue, York Road and Southchurch Road, all in Southend.
EXPOSED: How Echo reported on the Pang properties in 2009
Southend Council looked to take court action, but later withdrew legal proceedings after head of the family Hon Shu Pang, from Southchurch Road, agreed to hand over control of their three biggest properties to a letting agent approved by the authority.
However, the family still manage several smaller flats and converted houses around the town.
Concerned: Ron Woodley
Ron Woodley, Independent Thorpe ward councillor, who previously raised concerns about conditions in the family’s properties, said: “If these flats are approved, I hope the Pangs have learned some lessons from the past and are now proposing to provide suitable accommodation and that council officers will be making the necessary inspections.”
Mr Pang has insisted in his application that all planning and building control requirements will be met with the development.
He has previously said the family is working to improve the standards of their homes.
However, the family have not signed up to a code of conduct created by the South East Essex Alliance of Landlords.