Folkestone & Hythe District Council Corporate Director for Place and Commercial – John Bunnett (pictured), was in Nov 2019 given the green light to begin negotiations with Cozumel Estates Limited to acquire their land and property holdings within the Otterpool Park development boundary.
On or around the 18th Dec 2019, the Council made an offer to the Reuben Brothers Company, Cozumel Estates Ltd, of approximately £26 million pounds to purchase their land and property within the Otterpool Park boundary site. With stamp duty and legal fees etc, this would rise to about £27.5 million. No money has been drawn down yet to acquire any of the land and property owned by the Reuben Brothers. We understand any monies needed will come from the £100 million the Council granted themselves back in November 2019. This money will be drawn down from the Public Works Loan Board.
This information has come from several members of the Otterpool Working Group, who let some of the information slip after one to many glasses of alcohol over the new year period. They were all informed that this is “commercially sensitive” information. However, a bit too much alcohol loosened their tongues.
Cozumel Estates Limited owned by the Reuben Brothers and registered in the British Virgin Islands, purchased Folkestone Racecourse on the 12th April 2016 for £4 million, according to the Land Registry.
The Reuben Brothers or rather Cozumel Estates Limited also have land options with Richard & Christopher Price who own the land between Sellindge & Newingreen.
The option to purchase the Price’s land was agreed on the 26 June 2017 and is contained in an Agreement dated 14 June 2017 made between (1) Richard Price (Snr), Richard Price (Jnr) and Christopher Price and Cozumel Estates Limited. The beneficiary of this agreement is Cozumel Estates Limited.
The Council would need to negotiate a potential option to purchase this land.
The land option land is marked in Orange (Price Family Land) & Magenta (Hurley Land) and the Racecourse (Reuben Brothers land) is outlined in Orange/Yellow
The Land in the map falls within the Otterpool Park Boundary. Both F&HDC & Cozumel own the majority of land and are close to completing on the rest. All told the hectarge is 756 hectares.
However, this is not the only land the Cozumel Estates Ltd have a option to purchase.
They have an option agreement to purchase the land at Hillhurst Farm Stone Street, Westenhanger. This option agreement dated was made on the 29 March 2016 made between William Hurley and Cozumel Estates Limited.
This land coloured magenta is where the Council would like the employment land to be
Again the Council would have to negotiate this as well.
If the sale goes ahead within the budget allocated, the Reuben Brothers are set to make a whooping £22 million in less than three years. Not a bad return at all. As we said way back in Nov 2016, the Reuben Brothers are not ones for buying a pig in a poke. However, if we were they Reuben Brothers, we’d hold out until planning permission was granted, as the land would potentially be worth a lot more.
Spending on land and property within the Otterpool boundary by the Council is approx £10 million to date.
The Shepwayvox Team
The Velvet Voices of Dissent