On September 3, 2017, we wrote about the White Lion Pub in Cheriton. At that time, the ownership of the building belonged to Kent County Homes Ltd, which in turn was owned by Redforge BVI Ltd, based in the British Virgin Islands, a known tax haven. However, this changed on the 06/04/2020 and ownership reverted back to Kent County Homes Ltd, whose sole director is Nick Brown (pictured), according to Companies House.
On the 29 Aug, 2017, it failed to obtain planning permission for use by ex service men under Application Number: Y16/0439/SH.
That said, on the 30th March, 2020, Planning Permission was granted by Folkestone & Hythe District Council under reference 20/0459/FH, according to On The Market, and Clive Emson Auctioneers [it failed to sell at auction], yet the application form for the White Lion Pub was submitted on the 13 May 2020, according to the Council’s planning portal, and the decision notice for approval of planning permission, was granted on the 3 Feb 2021.
So how could planning permission have been granted on the 30 March 2020, according to two reputable sources, unless of course there has been a c*ck up, or something more nefarious has gone on, which we don’t known about. We’ll leave you to decide what happened.
But that’s not the end of it, in 2019, the tiles on the roof were removed and in 2020, there was a small fire to the right of the building. Then on Friday 18, 2022, Storm Eunice ripped a gapping hole in the building as can be seen from the before and after images below
Now given the building is in such a ruinous and dangerous state, especially if another storm arrives in the near future, Folkestone & Hythe DC have powers under the Building Act 1984, s76 – Defective premises s77 – Dangerous building, s78 – Dangerous building—emergency measures and s79 – Ruinous and dilapidated buildings and neglected sites.
We suspect, Mr Brown would appreciate the idea if the Council invoked s79(1)(b) of the Act, as it would allow him to demolish the premises.
s79 – Ruinous and dilapidated buildings and neglected sites.
(1) If it appears to a local authority that a building or structure is by reason of its ruinous or dilapidated condition seriously detrimental to the amenities of the neighbourhood, the local authority may by notice require the owner thereof—
(a) to execute such works of repair or restoration, or
(b) if he so elects, to take such steps for demolishing the building or structure, or any part thereof, and removing any rubbish or other material resulting from or exposed by the demolition,
as may be necessary in the interests of amenity.
As the building stands, it is dangerous, given storms are frequent and have already damaged the building. Instead of waiting for the building – which is an eyesore – and its condition is seriously detrimental to the amenities of the neighborhood, as it is a gateway to our wonderful town, he ought to act and get a demolition notice, to make the site safer and less of an eyesore.
This site has been problematic since it first came to our attention. It is time either the Council acted to get the building restored, or demolished. The same goes for Mr Brown, who obviously has has the money given he has had an offshore company based in the British Virgin Islands.
Who will blink first, the Council or Mr Brown. Only time will tell.
The Shepway Vox Team
Not owned by Hedgefunds or Barons