It all begins with a simple phone call. They were agitated, scared, nervous, confused with lots of questions. What if the rents go up? What if they ask us to move? Where will we go? There’s a distinct lack of suitable affordable accommodation across the district. What about the others? Please help us. This is how it begun.
The person in question was talking about planning application Y16/0725/SH which is attached to Pensand House & Marlborough Court South Road Hythe.
There at 20 flats in Marlborough House.There are 36 in Pensand House, each have a balcony overlooking the promenade in Hythe and the English Channel with a view to die for all year round. So we informed out caller we’d look into it for them and let them know, what if anything we could find.
Pensand and Marlborough House are owned according to the Land Registry by Chelsea Portfolio Ltd. However, upon closer inspection of their Accounts at page 5 it states ‘The Company is a 100% subsidary of Frasertown Ltd, a company incorporated in Gilbraltar‘.
The Shareholders of Frasertown Ltd Gibraltar are Valmet Nominees Ltd located in Gibraltar and have been named in the Panama Papers. The other shareholder is Finsbury Nominees Ltd who too have been named in the Panama Papers. The Directors are Valdir Managers Ltd located in Gibraltar. So a company wholly owned Offshore. So these two properties can be added to Private Eye’s online map of properties in England and Wales owned by offshore companies.
In 2015 an FOI revealed Chelsea Portfolio Ltd received £128,061 in Housing Benefit from Shepway District Council. This money was used in the vast majority of cases to top up people’s rent as they work, but do not earn enough to cover the full rent. This is why our caller was worried. They already work 60 hours a week. If the rents go up, they’ll have to move. When we spoke to others in Marlborough & Pensand House, they too shared identical concerns. They say there has been a distinct lack of information from Chelsea Portfolio Ltd about the redevelopment.
We tried to contact Chelsea Portfolio Ltd but neither the Secretary or the Director has got back to us for comment.
There are 3 charges against Chelsea Portfolio Ltd, and the persons entitled are Habib Bank Ag Zurich. 12 of the 15 charges were satisfied on the 7th Oct 2015.
Meanwhile we relayed what we have found to some of the residents we spoke to and urged them to write to the owners, onshore and offshore (addresses below) to seek clarification about their intentions. We, like the residents hope they will not be ‘decanted’ as there is already a shortage of suitable and affordable properties to rent.
Valdir Managers Ltd, Suites 7B & 8B, 50 Town Range PO Box 472 Gibraltar.
Chelsea Portfolio Ltd Hawkswood House, Hawkswood Rd, Downham, Essex, CM11 1JT
There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.