Conversion of Ross House “was total shit” and “sub standard” yet Council paid £1.8 million

Updated 4th Nov 10:35

Cllr Tim Prater has made candid public statements about the conversion of Ross House, Ross Way into 16 flats, owned by the Council since April 2018, and managed by East Kent Housing. In a Facebook post Cllr Prater has stated the conversion undertaken by Mullberry Homeswas total shit” and a “sub standard conversion” to our public face.

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Cllr Prater goes onto say on Nov 2nd 2019

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In June 2018 we wrote about Ross House and we informed you that the Council had purchased it for £1.8 million including fees. The Cabinet Member for Housing at the time was former Cllr Alan Ewart-James

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We also heard from the man who sold the building to the Council, Mr Oliver Davis (pictured). Mr Davis company at that time was Mullberry Tree Holdings Ltd. Mr Davis has relinquished control of Mullberry Tree and it has been taken over by Oliver Davis Group Ltd, which is owned by Mr Davis. This is the third company name Mr Davis has had, according to companies house.

In a previous comment to us about Ross House, he said in June 2018

“Ross House was purchased by us as a disused and near derelict office building that needed significant investment before it could be utilised for any use.  Upon purchase we practically rebuilt the building including replacing the entire roof, and converting the space from completely open place office space to form 16 new apartments.  This also included a completely new power supply run from military Way and new mains water supply to cope with 16 apartments.  This included building over 125 walls and installing 117 new UPVC windows, We have also installed a large tarmac parking area and also a rear garden area to finish.

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This significant level of works took nearly 8 months with a team of over 20 staff.  And in the end we sold the properties to the council for significantly under open market value which is estimated to be in excess of £2.1m.”

Well, Mr Davis might you explain how your company refurb of  Ross House “was total shit” and  “sub standard” after eight months of significant levels of work? Will you put right what is wrong with the building, for free? After all you have received £1.8 million of public money.

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A fortnight ago Tim meet with Deborah Upton Chief Exec of East Kent Housing and Cllr Godfrey Cabinet Member for Housing, to show them the effects of the “total shit” and “sub standard conversion” was having on tenants lives. Tenants had as we understand been in contact with East Kent Housing, but they done nothing until Cllr Prater and Cllr Fuller’s intervention. Further evidence if it was needed that EKH are not fit for purpose.

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All four councils who own EKH have all now agreed to pull out of EKH “in principle”, and consultation letters about bringing it back in house have been landing on tenants doormats since the 21st Oct.

The Council will hold four drop in events across our district for tenants in Nov and Dec. We urge all tenants to get along and make your voice heard. You have a right to live in safe and decent homes

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Once again we ask Mr Davis if his company will undertake the work to correct the “sub standard conversion” which “was total shit”, for free?

We note a Mr David Lewis (pictured below) formerly of Circle Housing, has arrived at East Kent Housing. According to his Linkedin page, he has two jobs. One as Interim Director of Property Services at East Kent Housing. The other as Interim Director of Asset Strategy at Westminster City Council.

David Lewis

We note there was a brief window where Mr Lewis and Ms Deborah Josephine Upton  Chief Exec of EKH, worked together at Circle Housing, where fraud and overcharging was discovered. Job’s for the boys Josephine?

We congratulate Cllr Tim Prater (Lib Dem) and Cllr Gary Fuller (Lib Dem) for taking the time to engage and participate with their constituents and assist in changing their lives for the better.

Finally, we  cannot find any Council key decision notice, or decision by full Council, as per the constitution Article 12.3.2(a)(b) and (c), to purchase Ross House. If anyone can lay their hands on it do pop it over via email please.

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3 Comments on Conversion of Ross House “was total shit” and “sub standard” yet Council paid £1.8 million

  1. For Fu** sake can’t these lot doing anything right? Congratulations to the Cllrs though, it’s refreshing to hear Cllrs are actually doing something for the tenants of East Kent Housing, after all the effort the Shepwayvox Team put into exposing their ineptitude.

  2. Makes you wonder what you have to do to get sacked as a chief exec or senior manager in social housing, apparently you can manage in a way that allows evidenced fraud, overcharging and breaches in health and safety at Medway Council, Circle Housing and now EKH.

    In my personal opinion it appears obvious to me that Ms Upton may just of handed a nice touch to all her mates from Mark Anderson to David Lewis. Did the board do their homework ?

  3. doggerbank56 // November 4, 2019 at 17:45 // Reply

    Both Councillors Prater and Fuller need to be thanked for bringing this to public attention. Without Shepway Vox would anyone else be aware of the problems at Ross House?

    What needs to be investigated next is who signed off the building conversion as being fit for purpose? I would presume that both the Building and Fire Safety regulations would have been complied with before the flats were let to tenants.

    However, as we are dealing with East Kent Housing here perhaps they were not – these questions need to be answered. Keep up the good work.

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