Hallmark Property Group, the freehold owner of a block of 75 flats with a host of building safety problems is using the government’s controversial permitted development planning give-away to stick 44 new flats – worth around £15 million at pre-cladding prices – on top of the blighted building.
For leaseholders at Fletcher Court, part of the 1,087-flat Pulse development in Colindale, north London, this is a bitter pill to swallow, coming on top of expensive building safety works to remove ACM cladding and other defects that resulted in a B2 rating after an EWS1 in 2019.
Worse, a waking watch was imposed in part of Fletcher Court by London Fire Brigade in December – possibly prompted by the planning request by Hallmark Property Group Limited. This is understood to affect half of the building.
The owner Hallmark Property Group Limited is understood to be Andrew Charles Bacon
Barnet council has to date received 130 objections to the permitted development notification.
One of the leaseholders writes: “The residents cannot handle a building site on top of their homes. All the other issues with the building are already unbearable, and yet you are looking to make more profit …”
The issue has been reported in the local newspaper the Barnet Post
Residents “trapped” in unsellable homes because of cladding issues have vented their anger over plans to build two extra floors on top of their building. Residents “trapped” in unsellable homes because of cladding issues have vented their anger over plans to build two extra floors on top of their building.
It quotes Mab Moeiri-Farsi, who lives in Hitherwood Court, a separate part of the development, saying that he feared the application would be the “tip of the iceberg” and, if approved, would open the door to upward extensions being built on the other blocks.
Fletcher Court, which is above 11 metres tall but below 18 metres, was completed by Fairview New Homes in 2009. Around 887 flats at Pulse are private and a further 200 are owned and run by the Notting Hill Genesis housing association.
Fairview New Homes has sold off the freeholds to the sites to four private freehold investors:
Sinclair Gardens, named so disobligingly in the Commons in the 1990s, with owner Paul Chevalier referenced by then Conservative MP for Edmonton Dr Ian Twinn saying: “It should make us ashamed that our law allows people to behave in that way.”
Winchester-based E and J Estates, or E and J Capital Partners, run by James Tuttiet, lampooned as a fat cat in The Sun. It had a host of sites with aggressive ground rents.
Adriatic Land 3, part of William Waldorf Astor’s Long Harbour group, which hides the beneficial ownership of its freeholds, often offshore, and had some connections with Hutchison Whampoa of the Li Ka-Shing family.
And Hallmark, which also owns The Stay Club hotel across road Charcot Road.
Boswell and Hitherwood Courts at Pulse are poised to go to the property tribunal against E and J Estates over insurance costs.
The local Conservative MP for Hendon Matthew Offord has had some involvement with Pulse, but to date has not raised the issue of Mr Bacon’s 44 new flats application.
Prior to Communities Secretary Michael Gove’s dictat on January 10 that leaseholders will not be paying for the building safety crisis and that developers need to stomp up £4 billion, Fairview New Homes had been considering a contribution to assist the remediation costs.
Those talks with the residents’ management company are superceded.
Matthew Offord did attend this demonstration of leaseholders outside Parliament in February 2020, just before lockdown: