LKP has urged Poltair Homes and the Tchenguiz Family Trust to sort out 80 shared ownership leases on houses which are now unmortgagable owing to the disastrous terms.
Ground rents on the properties, which have never sold for more than £125,000, are presently £1,500pa and rise every year with RPI. As a result, the residents – who were all deemed to have local housing needs – are stuck.
Local builder THF Limited – a related company of Poltair Homes – built the three sites with the same 62% shared ownership leases from 2004. They are:
Pentowan Gardens estate, Loggans, Hayle, TR27 5AZ
Ellis Meadow, Connor Downs, TR27 5FB
Beacon View, Mount Hawke, TR4 8FG
LKP raised the issue with Ron Ley, CEO of Poltair Homes, whose then related company THF Limited, built the site in correspondence copied to Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, local Tory MP George Eustice, Cllr Barbara Ellenbroek, the leader of Cornwall Council, Cllr Oliver Monk, who heads Cornwall’s Strategic Housing Group, and Homes England, which doles out subsidies to housebuilders including Help To Buy.
Mr Ley replied:
“I am in receipt of your email. I must explain that Poltair Homes or any Poltair group company is not connected with THF nor is the latter a subsidiary of Poltair. Furthermore, I have never been a director of any THF company.
“Please direct your enquiry to others.”
This was a surprising response as Mr Ley’s own biography on the Poltair Homes website acknowledges his connection to THF:
In addition, THF Limited references a £300,000 payment to Poltair Developments Limited under ralted party disclosures “for construction services supplied in respect of the company’s development at Hayle, Cornwall”. LKP assumes that this is the shared ownership site at Pentowan Gardens:
Oh, and here’s the completion certificate for one of the houses on a Pentowan Gardens, also referencing Poltair Developments:
THF Limited sold on the freehold of these sites and they are now owned by Rockwell (FC100) Limited, incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and ultimately owned by the Tchenguiz Family Trust, whose property interests are administered by the Consensus Business Group.
The local Tory MP George Eustice wrote to Mr Gove on 31 January 2022:
“Regrettably, Cornwall Council cannot directly force a resolution to this issue, as the freehold is (legitimately) owned by a private investment institution who are entitled to retain or sell on to a further institution as they see fit.”
George Eustice MP letter to Michael Gove is here
On the other hand, Cornwall Council might reasonably withhold planning consent on future Poltair Homes schemes (“We have created over 500 homes in wonderful locations and there’s plenty more to come”) until this mess of its – or THF Limited’s creation – is sorted out, similar to Mr Gove’s intervention into the cladding / building safety defects scandal where a sector-wide levy on housebuilders has now been grudgingly accepted (by almost all).
Turning off the spigot of Help To Buy subsidies from Homes England might also help concentrate the mind.
LKP has asked Poltair Homes and the Consensus Business Group to liaise to sort the matter out as both are powerful property interests and those impacted are not very affluent partial home owners, who are in a mess through no fault of their own.
LKP’s correspondence to Mr Ley was also copied to his business partner, Anthony Paul Fleming Stephens, who is a person of significant control of both Poltair Homes and THF Limited, and who might reasonably be described as Mr Ley’s business partner.
Section 106 agreements with Penwith District council on 12 November 2004 and 12 July 2006 make clear that the undertakings were signed by both Poltair Developments Limited and THF Limited.
The woes of the shared owners at Pentowan Gardens have been reported in the local newspaper the Hayle Times and in Private Eye.
Hayle Times report is here
Leaseholders own account of the issues is here