Over the last few days, our public face managed to catch up with Olivier Daelemans (pictured), the owner, and developer of the Leas Pavilion – Folkestone, about how the project is moving forward.
On the day we met, Mr Daelemans wore a blue suit, crisply pressed, a white shirt cotton shirt, polished brown shoes and a full bronzed sun tan. He was waiting for a KCC Planning Officer to sign off a retaining wall which runs under the pavement at the front of the building. Once this bridge is crossed, then the project can begin he says confidently.
The building which will stradle across the Leas Club, will be piled and a steel framework set upon foundations will be erected. Then large slabs of concrete will be placed across the steel to create the floors.
He was keen to point out the flat’s have been marketed across a variety of well known online estate agents. To date Olivier says confidently, and quietly.
‘We’ve sold 20 apartments, and there are more people in the queue to sign up. I really want to get, how do you say it ‘cracking on”.
And people are prepared to pay up to £925,000?
‘Oh yes‘ he says while nodding, ‘but the cheapest apartments are £285,000‘
He’s eager to make clear the development will be built out in phases, but fails to expand on what that means, for traffic and neighbours.
Future owners will own the freehold as leaseholders, once the project is completed.
Olivier made it clear that other developers such as Churchgate and Quinn Estates, to name but two, sought to use the Leas Club as a Gym, a Tea Room, A Bar, hence why they could not make any development viable. However, he approached the issue differently.
‘I have faced similar issues in Belgium, where I have developed sites similar to this. The easiest and simpliest way to make a project of this type viable is to use what exists for the residents and the community.’
Rather than seek a profit from the Leas Club itself, he decided to engage with the Friends of the Leas Pavilion. After listening to understand, rather than reply, Olivier decided to build many of the objectives and requirements of The Friends, into any future freehold and lease, making it a ‘win-win solution‘ for all parties.
Developers can please some of the people all of the time, they can please all of the people some of the time, but they can’t please all of the people all of the time.
We were about to continue when the planning officer from KCC arrived curtailing our discussion, sooner than anticipated. After brief introductions, Olivier and his tan, faded away, as he and the officer descended into the bowels of the building, discussing the finer detail of reinforced walls.
The Shepway Vox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful