Who Bought The Grand? – The ‘Mystery Solved

After weeks of speculation, the ‘mystery’ of who bought the freehold of the Grand has been revealed.

It was a company, the Grand (Folkestone) Residents Ltd set up by a group of leaseholders in February this year, with the express intention of exercising their rights under the Housing Act when it became clear that the Grand was being put up for auction. This followed the former owners, Hallam Estates Ltd being put into administration for non-payment of maintenance charges for the building. Hallam was the vehicle set up in 1996 through which the now-bankrupt Michael Stainer ran his various businesses.

This right, known as the right of first refusal, makes it compulsory to advise lease holders of the intention to sell the freehold in which they own flats, and to allow them to take over any agreed purchase, whether by private sale, or as in this case, at auction.

Needless to say, many hoops had to be jumped through, including gaining the consent of a majority of leaseholders, and demonstrating that the commercial areas were less than 50% of the entire building. The process even survived two failed injunctions by Michael Stainer, first in the Canterbury County Court, and then in the High Court, to prevent the auction both of the freehold, and of the entire contents of the commercial areas.

With this process completed, and all prospective purchasers made aware of this right of first refusal, the Grand went into auction at Barnard Marcus on June 22nd and sold for £448,000. The identity of the original purchaser is not known, but what is certain is that the new company, with funds in place, took over the sale, and now owns the entire freehold of the Grand. Separately, a few days later, the garage complex to the rear of the Grand sold at auction for £675,000 – another part of the Stainer-owned domain, lost forever.

The sale of the contents by Eddisons, saw everything being carried out of the building, including the actual kitchen sink, plants, pictures and enough kit to equip a dozen kitchens. From what we understand, the commercial areas will have great difficulty in re-opening without massive investment, in what is one of the bleakest landscapes for the hospitality sector in memory.

So, who, or what is a leaseholder-owned company? This is actually a very familiar beast in the world of blocks of flats, as there are various routes by which leaseholders can take over a block. The leaseholders become shareholders, usually holding one share per flat, they can appoint directors (or remove them) and in fact operate like a ‘normal’ company. The chief difference with a ‘conventional’ company is that there is a clear and obviously shared motivation – to protect homes and enhance their value. The contrast with a block of flats owned by a third party is that here the profit motive prevails over the interests of leaseholders, as so many have discovered to their cost.

So, the future for the Grand is uncertain. Will the light blaze once more in the Palm Court? Will the banqueting rooms be full of wedding parties and Conservative Party dinners? Will Keppels host jazz evenings while guests relax on the lawns of Terlingham Gardens? And what of the staff, furloughed and now wondering who will pay their redundancy, their unpaid holiday pay, their missing NIC and PAYE payments?

August 12th might be the end of the Stainer saga, but a new story will unfold.

The Shepway Vox Team

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Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

14 Comments on Who Bought The Grand? – The ‘Mystery Solved

  1. Eddie the Ready // August 14, 2021 at 11:49 // Reply

    Is it true that Moss is now squatting in yet another former Stainer flat with a lady friend?? Who’s paying for his gas and electricity and water now? Bloody freeloader!!!

    • It now seems that MS or Moss wont file for insolvency ,so we as staff are stuck in limbo not knowing if we will get redundancy ( which MS wont have to pay for , it will come from the government) Hes dragged us along for the past 16 months .He lives in lala land .But hey Moss and his lady friend are sorting the car rally .Shame he cant spend his time being a director and sorting stuff for the staff

  2. So glad stainer got his comeuppance at last, wished I had been able to get the £7k in wages he owed me from a few year’s ago, always broken promises you’ll get your money, only manager not to get paid,

  3. Robert Moss is squatting he is staying without the owners consent.

  4. It now seems MS or Moss wont claim insolvency even though theres no chance for The Grand .This leaves us as staff in limbo , we cant claim for our redundancy (this would have to come from the government , not from MS ) Hes kept us in the dark for months now .Moss as a director hasnt got a clue but hey him and his new lady friend have sorted the car show .Shame he couldnt have spent that time sorting our redundancy payments .Again Teflon man (MS) thinks hes got away with it .

  5. His “lady friend” is a lot older than him. She will probably end up funding his lifestyle until her money runs out. Then he will move on again to someone new.

  6. Scum detector // August 16, 2021 at 22:14 // Reply

    Best advice is that ex-employees club together to find the £1600 to wind up the company and then they can claim their redundancy via the Insolvency Service. I’ll happily bung in £50!!!

  7. Seems that Moss is something of a snake of the lower water, let’s just hope he chokes on his own vomit. Failing this, perhaps we should vomit on him.

  8. Scum detector // August 17, 2021 at 22:14 // Reply

    Asial: may be we should crowdfund the former employees to bring him down……….

  9. Why is Moss getting away with it? He was involved in everything going on. He had been a Director and “in charge” (although MS still pulled the strings) for some time. Surely he must take responsibility for the mess regarding staff wages, furlough etc. It happened under his watch

    • Any help for the members of staff would be greatly appreciated. Advice on what we can do. Holiday owed, redundancy owed. They have no intention of closing the companies leaving us all stranded. Those of us who have second jobs are being taxed basic rate on our new income. Being told by the tax office that we can’t swap tax codes between the two or we will owe tax, the only way we can get a normal code is to get a p45 but we want our redundancy and holiday pay!

  10. In vino veritas // August 18, 2021 at 22:31 // Reply

    My Grand chums tell Moss is moving out as yet another squat has been sold from beneath him. So does he move in with lady friend or into chez Stainer? You pays your money…….

  11. Eddie the steady // August 21, 2021 at 23:13 // Reply

    He’s gone……. Now who’s next?

  12. So where does that leave us as employees of the now defunked Grand .As the director he was the one who could put the business into insolvency .MS will fight on but what for we dont know .Does anyone have any ideas where we go from here

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