John Bloor, the founder of Bloor Homes, has donated £400,000 to the Conservative Party, even though his company builds leasehold houses that have been criticised by Theresa May.
Mr Bloor’s donation, made through his company JS Bloor (Services) Limited, was received on May 3.
The news coincides with LKP asking Bloor Homes, and Redrow and Peel Holdings, to account for the sale of leasehold houses at the Worsley Fold site at Salford, greater Manchester.
Bloor Homes and Redrow are building leasehold houses on the site, where the land is owned by Peel Holdings.
On May 11, LKP asked the three companies to explain why the houses were being sold leasehold, especially as the vast majority of sales will be made with assistance from the taxpayer-funded Help To Buy scheme.
Sebastian O’Kelly wrote to Adrian Bloor, Redrow founder Steve Morgan and CEO John Tute, and John Whittaker, CEO of Peel Holdings, to ask:
“As your firms are well established property development companies co-operating at this site, could I ask that all buyers be offered the opportunity to buy the freeholds to their homes at point of sale?
“Is there any legal impediment why they should not do so, given the co-operation of your companies at this site?
“The prime minister has made clear her views of leasehold house sales, and selling tenancies is obviously not what the Help To Buy scheme intended to encourage.
“I am sure you will agree with the prime minister that houses should be sold with freehold tenure to a new generation of homebuyers, as they have been to previous ones (we acknowledge a historic legacy of leasehold houses from the industrial era in the NW). Particularly as taxpayers are helping them buy.”
The Bloor Homes leases here are 999 years and ground rents are £200pa. On two-three bedroom houses priced from £249,999 to £345,999, these ground rents are within the lending criteria established by Nationwide last week.
LKP wrote: “We are unaware of other revenue streams here such as consent fees for subletting, pets, conservatories, porches, commercial vehicles on drives and the rest.
“We are unaware of the intentions of Peel Holdings regarding the freehold: whether to retain it, or as elsewhere with plc housebuilders to sell it on to anonymous investors who hide their beneficial ownership behind nominee directors, and are often based offshore.”
LKP acknowledged the corporate social responsibility codes of the three companies and acknowledged their significant charity work in the NW.
“I note that of Peel Holdings, concerned with charities in the NW and the arts. Its corporate social responsibility report can be read here:
“The very generous charitable contributions of Mr Morgan have been nationally reported and are acknowledged by the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership
“You are all long established companies with substantiated engagement with wider society.
“For that reason, I am confident that you will offer proper freehold homeownership to those who want it at point of sale.
“I would also urge you to reconsider ground rents, which surely have no role in society today.”