Who Will Save the Grand?

As the Grand continues to crumble after years of well-documented neglect, the residents, some in their 90s, await with mounting fear the next set of bills for maintenance.  In a well-managed building, these bills should consist only of routine maintenance, but not at the Grand.  Huge bills for major repairs are in the pipeline thanks to years of reported neglect and mismanagement.

collapsing-balcony-edge

Vital repairs have been repeatedly put off because of the huge and longstanding hole in the maintenance fund.  Putting off vital repairs means the costs go up — in this case from around £300,000 to £500,000 thanks to this funding hole.  A quick glance around the building shows iron down pipes with huge holes, balconies with render falling onto walkways below, bits of ornamental coving held together with expanding foam, window frames rotting away, the once beautiful balustrading as rotten as a thirty year old Alfa Romeo.  Who knows the condition of the internal wiring and drainage?  What about the invisible steel structure which once made this building such a talking point a century ago?

Beneath the public posturing of  Hallam Estates Ltd  and the licensee  of the Grand (Mr & Mrs Stainer), away from the braggadocio with characterises every utterance from ownership and management of the Grand, there is a harsh and inescapable truth. 

rotten-downpipe

This building which should reflect all that’s best about the new Folkestone is in unsafe hands in our honest opinion.  Don’t believe us, believe the First-Tier Tribunal Property Chamber when in 2014, it was adjudicating over the attempt of residents to replace the old and failed management.  The Court heard incontrovertible evidence as to the years of neglect and the impact of the freeholder refusing to hand over the funds needed to repair the building.

We quote Judge Norman who refers to:

“The continuing theme of the Respondent [Hallam Estates Limited] and Mr. and/or Mrs.Stainer to provide the funds which they are obliged to provide.”

He states categorically:

                “Mr. and /or Mrs. Stainer are obliged to contribute to the maintenance fund”.

He finally quotes Mr.Roddy Baker formerly of Cluttons, now of Fell Reynolds, the former managing agent of the Grand who said:

“He could have managed the building properly if he had had the funds.”

That was 2014.  What’s changed in 2016?  Nothing.  The new managing agents have not seen a penny from the freeholder, not a penny from the 17 holiday flats which are legally obliged to pay, not a penny from the commercial enterprises within the Grand.

bowing-floating-lintel

Amazingly with all this going on and despite all this history of neglect, in 2014, Shepway Council gave planning permission for seven new apartments carved out of the unused basement area on the west side.  They ignored well-argued opposition from many residents. They ignored concerns over the impact on an already overstrained drainage system.  They ignored the fact that the existing holiday lets pay nothing to maintain the building. 

Let’s hope that Hallam Estates Ltd  and the Licensee Mr & Mrs.Stainer pays their debts to the Grand, and fulfils all their obligations before spending a penny on this project.  It would be the grossest of injustices for Hallam Estates Ltd and the licensee Mr & Mrs.Stainer to seek to further enrich himself at the expense of his leaseholders.

Shepwayvox

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8 Comments on Who Will Save the Grand?

  1. Very well said!

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  2. The article bites to the ‘bone’! An enjoyable read. Hope to read more of this.

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  3. David Olliver // September 19, 2016 at 12:05 // Reply

    A very subjective article that fails to take in to account the failure of the “new” manager to undertake any works when appointed even though he was in funds to do so. In point now the new managers firm has split up I can only conclude the problem of mismanagement will continue.
    The author is clearly biased to his point of view and I fail to understand how he can criticise the council for giving planning permission when they had no legal reason or valid argument from the NIMBY opposition to do otherwise. Should the freeholder develop these areas should be pleased he is doing so legally and more so why does the author feel development of a building in need of development is a bad thing.

    Freedom of speech is welcome but author should try and be a little more balanced in his views.

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    • Have you read the article properly? If not, please read again. Specially this sentence ” That was 2014. What’s changed in 2016? Nothing. The new managing agents have not seen a penny from the freeholder, not a penny from the 17 holiday flats which are legally obliged to pay, not a penny from the commercial enterprises within the Grand. “

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  4. There is a rumour circulating that Hallam Estates the freeholder of The Grand has been sold. If it is true perhaps salvation is a hand. If it does not result in a change of directors however then perhaps not.

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  5. Just discovered that the comment was made by David Olliver ( fake name ) who , indeed is an employee of the Hallam Estate ! In actual fact, I am quite moved by his loyalty , stood firmly by his boss — Mr Stainer , “through the trick & ….. “

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    • Are you saying that an employee of the Grand is assuming the name of a well-know resident and former chair of the Residents Association? If this could be proved, and the PC or laptop identified — which is dead easy, is this not an offence which could be prosecuted? Prosecutions for online activity have been brought under a number of laws, including the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015,

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  6. Fascinating to be a disinterested observer of this never-ending saga. I agree that the article is certainly provocative. It’s also, apparently, well researched otherwise I am sure my learned friends would be falling all over it. I would love to hear a detailed refutation of the points made by someone — Mr.Olliver perhaps? He appears to have the ear of the owners of the Grand. However his grasp of the facts is another matter. The managers have moved office not split up. The Council could and should have rejected the application for planning had the residents had professional support and more than 3 minutes to make a case. I am also told they’d welcome a development provided it met with building and planning legislation and that before Mr.Stainer raises the £800,000 he says is needed to complete this, he meets his obligations as determined by the Court.

    But above all, Mr.Olliver — just look at the building and tell the residents of the Grand where the £500,000 is coming from?

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