Concerns over the Pitmaston site, Moseley, Birmingham
I have been doing some more research on the status of the Pitmaston estate, Moseley, Birmingham. Indeed this work has been instigated after claims about the true ownership of the Pitmaston site surfaced recently on various internet forums. My findings have set off some alarm bells inside me about the future conservation of this historic site.
History of the site
The Pitmaston estate is enclosed within the following roads – Russell Road, Goodby Road, Holders Lane and Moor Green Lane. Most of the landscape to the rear of the property dates from 1870, when the original Pitmaston House was built and the garden landscaped. Most of the mature trees that form the woodland bordering onto Holders Lane and the Goodby Road properties date from this period. This woodland was created on a sandstone outcrop, with walkways carved into this outcrop.
The present Ideal Benefit Offices were built in the 1930’s on the footprint of the original Pitmaston House. They were designed by one of Birmingham finest Inter-War architects, Holland W Hobbis. In 2003, the 1930’s Ideal Benefit Offices were statutory listed – protecting both the interior, exterior and setting of the building. In 2004, the gardens were included in the expanded Moseley Conservation Area.
Who owns what?
On 7th September 2007, the Ideal Benefit Society sold the Pitmaston Estate to Centrepoint Limited. It has been claimed on various internet forums that it was sold to Centrepoint Limited for £7million, but I have not been able to validate this figure.
The entire estate can be seen on the map at http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n300/martin_mullaney/pitmaston-estate.jpg The boundary of the estate is coloured in deep red.
With hours of purchasing the estate, Centre Point Limited had split the estate into 4 plots and sold them again, for a total of £7.7million.
Referring again to the map at http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n300/martin_mullaney/pitmaston-estate.jpg
The new owners were as follows:
Plot 2 – comprising of half the gardens, including 82 Russell Road and the stable block. Sold to T.H.Kingerlee and Sons Limited for £2,242,500
Plot 3 – comprising of the Ideal Benefit office block and pond to the rear. Sold to Woodview Properties Limited for £4,250,000
Plot 4 – comprising of the mature woodland bordering Holders Lane and houses 48 to 56 (even numbers only) Goodby Road. Sold to Bridestowe Properties Limited for £750,000.
Plot 7 – land fronting Goodby Road, in-between numbers 34 and 40 Goodby Road. Sold to T.H.Kingerlee and Sons Limited for £481,000.
Since that splitting of the Pitmaston Estate, two more land exchanges have taken place:
Plot 4 – has sold half of its original plot. Plot 5 on the map at http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n300/martin_mullaney/pitmaston-estate.jpg
This section is 100% mature woodland and is the land immediately behind houses 48 to 56 (even numbers only) Goodby Road. It was sold on 15th February 2008 to Robert John Matthews for £147,000
Plot 6 – this was not part of the original Pitmaston estate. It borders it and consists solely of 80 Russell Road. This has been sold to T.H.Kingerlee and Sons Limited for £472,500.
Who are these companies?
The original Pitmaston Estate was purchase by Centrepoint Limited on 7th Sept and then split within hours into 4 plots and sold.
Companies House records show that the company has two owners:
1) David Bernard Gaiman of 10 Rockwood Park, Saint Hill Road, East Grinstead RH19 4JX
2) Elizabeth Diane Calcioli of Tall Trees, Rystwood Road, Forest Row, RH18 5LX
Googling the name ‘David Bernard Gaiman’ shows that he is a prominent member of the Church of Scientology – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Gaiman
David Gaiman is presently the Public Relations Director of the Church of Scientology in England.
According to the Church of Scientologist’s ‘Roll of Honour’ for donations to purchase the Pitmaston building, David Gaiman and his wife, donated £250,000.
Woodview Properties Limited and Bridestowe Properties Limited
Both Woodview Properties Limited and Bridestowe Properties were created on 22nd August 2007 and are based in the Isle of Man. Both their addresses are given as:
Chancery House, 22 Finch Road, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 2PT
At the time of purchasing both Plot 3 and Plot 4 – ie the office block and neighbouring wood – the Directors for both companies were the same and registered on the Isle of Man Companies House as:
1) Lynne Sayle, 7 North View, Pell, Isle of Man
2) Victoria Helen Laslett, 17 Appledene court, Farmhill, Douglas, Isle of Man
3) Stephen Anthony Castle, 7 Royal Court, Royal Avenue, Onchan
The present directors of both companies are the same and, as of 8th November 2008, are:
1) Barbara Sharon Bradley, Walsh Manor, Walshes Road, Crowborough, East Sussex TN6 3RB
2) Richard Edward Wilkins, Walsh Manor, Walshes Road, Crowborough, East Sussex TN6 3RB
A bit of googling shows Richard Wilkins to the Continental Finance Director for the Church of Scientology(England). Barbara Bradley is Trustee and Secretary of the Church of Scientology Religious Education College Inc.
Walsh Manor is owned by the Church of Scientology Religious Education College Inc and contains an independent school for 10 to 16 year olds run by the Church of Scientology
Both companies are owned by the same two shareholders:
1) Colaw Nominess Limited, Chancery House, 22 Finch Road, Douglas, Isle of Man
2) Colaw Second Nominees Limited, Chancery House, 22 Finch Road, Douglas, Isle of Man
Both Colaw Nominees Limited and Colaw Second Nominees Limited provide nominee shareholders for off-shore companies, so as to hide the identity of the true owner of a company. This appears to be case here
The Isle of Man provides off-shore companies, which are popular for a number of reasons: very low tax; accounts do not have to made public; companies can hide their true ownership by paying for nominee directors and shareholders.
Colaw Nominees Limited and Colaw Second Nominees Limited are owned by two shareholders, these being:
a) Ian Charles Corbridge, 21 Majestic Drive, Onchan, Isle of Man
b) Clive Ivan Corbridge, c/o 21 Majestic Drive, Onchan, Isle of Man
Bridestowe Properties Limited acted as guarantor for Woodview’s mortgage from Clydesdale Bank. Woodview Properties Limited acted as guarantor for Bridestowe’s mortgage from Clydesdale Bank.
T.H.Kingerlee and Sons Limited
T.H.Kingerlee and Sons Limited are part of Kingerlee Holderings Limited – this has been a family run company since 1868.
They have a website at http://www.kingerleehomes.co.uk/index.htm
According to the website:
“T.H Kingerlee & Sons Limited is the development company; recent projects include 84 apartments and houses at Chelsea Square, Cheltenham, 24 new houses at Lechlade Manor in Lechlade, and 84 apartments at the Lion Brewery, Oxford. We have also recently completed a mixed use scheme at Park End Street, Oxford comprising office/retail, high quality apartments, affordable housing and student accommodation.”
Robert John Matthews
According to the Land Registry his address is in Nottingham.
The way the Pitmaston estate has been sold off to different owners is unsettling.
One half has been sold to a housing property developer who has recently purchased a neighbouring property. Do they now intend to fence off their half of the estate? Do they intend to keep to the very restricted residential development that the site already has planning permission for? Why have they purchased 80 Russell Road?
The other half of the site, has been sold to two off-shore companies based in the Isle of Man. Both these companies appear to have been created purely to purchase this estate. In reality, both companies are exactly the same company, since they have the same directors and nominee shareholders. The true ownership of these two companies has been hidden behind ‘nominee shareholders’. Why?
The only thing that is certain is that the entire site was purchased by a company owned by a senior level member of the Church of Scientology. Within hours of purchasing it, the estate was split into four plots and sold off again – there are, as yet, unproven claims on various internet forums that it was sold at 10% profit. The two off-shore companies purchasing the plots now have directors who are also senior level members of the Church of Scientology. The question has to asked, why the real owners of these two off-shore companies don’t want their identity known? Also, why are the Church of Scientology asking for financial donations from their members to purchase Pitmaston building, when it appears that senior members of the Church of Scientology are now directors of the company that owns this property?
Finally, a section of the mature woodland has been purchased by an individual in Nottingham. He doesn’t appear to be a property developer and it can only be hoped that he has purchased this land to preserve it.