Will chequered history finally end in election victory next May?

Screenshot 2022-11-21 at 11.47.09

Following the publication of a report on this Neil Wilby Media website about a wealthy local businessman who almost pulled off an almighty shock in an Oldham Council by-election last week (read the article in full here), it has emerged that Kamran Ghafoor was in serious dispute with bosses at that same local authority ten years ago.

As a landlord whom, at the time, rebelled against a council licensing scheme he was forced to pay out thousands of pounds in fines, costs and repairs over renting out a sub-standard house.

Tenants at the Villa Road property in Hathershaw, owned by him, had to contend with unsecured doors and windows, central heating that didn’t work, drainage issues, smashed electrical sockets and malfunctioning controls for the gas fire and cooker.

The landlord, 32 years old at the time, was fined £1,500 by local magistrates for failing to rectify the faults, despite several reminders from the local authority’s housing officers. Costs of £1,068 were awarded to Oldham Council.

Just weeks before the court hearing he had rallied other local landlords to fight against the introduction of an Oldham Council licensing scheme, aimed at improving private sector properties and reducing anti-social behaviour across the Borough.

Ghafoor, who stood as a Conservative candidate in the Hollinwood by-election this month and failed by just 79 votes to overturn a sizeable Labour majority, helped form the Hathershaw Landlords Association to fight his cause. He railed against the one-off cost of up to a maximum of £500 charged by the council to obtain the licences — intended to help private landlords improve their knowledge and procedures. One local newspaper reported that he branded the charge a ‘stealth tax’ on landlords.

Despite issuing written and verbal warnings and serving a legal notice ordering the works to be done, the council says the landlord failed to act. Ultimately, he pleaded guilty to committing an offence under Section 30 of the Housing Act 2004 at Oldham Magistrates’ Court on 10th January, 2012.

Afterwards, Ghafoor said in response to the court’s findings:

“I feel that the judgement was unfortunate. I would like to apologise for being in a difficult financial position which led to this notice not being adhered to. I take my landlord duties seriously and responsibly. I feel that the fine was excessive and will not help me or other tenants.”

He added that he felt he was ‘singled out’ by the council for his part in a campaign against a landlord licensing scheme – which he, and others, said would ramp up rents in Oldham.

A spokesperson for Oldham Council said after the court hearing:

“The council gave this landlord plenty of opportunities to put the faults right in his property but he failed to do so.

“This could have put his tenants at risk. All landlords must ensure that the properties they rent out are safe and healthy to live in.

“We will take action against those who think they can get away with letting sub-standard properties.”

Kamran Ghafoor, an ambitious and born and bred Oldhamer, is currently listed as a Director of eight different trading entities at Companies House but is, arguably, best known as the owner of the popular and authentic Punjabi restaurant in Oldham, Café East, and the owner of a stunning maroon-shaded, top of the range Rolls Royce motor car, replete with his personalised registration mark.

In 2003, he became Oldham’s youngest ever South Asian councillor, at the age of 23, when elected as a Labour councillor in the Werneth ward. He lost the seat, narrowly, the following year. It would be a brave man (or woman) that would bet against Kamran, once dubbed the ‘Del Boy of Oldham’, returning to the council chamber in May, 2023.

He also previously stood as a Conservative candidate in two general elections, in 2010 and 2015, against the late Michael Meacher MP in the Oldham West and Royton constituency. He finished second and third respectively.

During that era, in 2012 in fact, Kamran’s brother, Kashif Ghafoor, was amongst Greater Manchester Police‘s most wanted men over allegations of Class A drug dealing (read here).

Page last updated Tuesday 22nd November, 2022 at 0855hrs

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Picture credits: Business Edge

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© Neil Wilby 2015-2022. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby Media, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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