Council: sell houses or face consequences

Ten houses at St Margarets Road which HBC may compulsory purchase SUS-150226-102252001
Ten houses at St Margarets Road which HBC may compulsory purchase SUS-150226-102252001

Three celebrities whose luxury eco-friendly property development has remained empty since they were completed nearly two years ago may be forced to sell up to the council unless the houses become occupied.

Hastings Borough Council (HBC) has called on the directors of ten up-market town houses, known as ‘Shoreline’ at St Margaret’s Road, St Leonards, to either get them sold or face a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO).

The four-bedroomed town houses, built to high environmentally friendly standards, with panoramic sea views, were built by Phoenix Trinity.

Co-directors at the time the development was completed were Simon Hinton (managing director) actress Charlotte Avery, who played Tina Stewart in EastEnders, and world-renowned DJ Danny Rampling.

The sales agents for the houses at the time was Mishon Mackay and sales manager Sara Van Look says the problem with the houses had been the high asking price. She said: “When we were instructed the prices were astronomical, between £375,000- £425,000, and nobody wanted them. We were in the depths of the recession and they should have been marketed at around £220,000.”

Sara said there was also some structural difficulties, which were rectified, and vandalism by unpaid contractors.

Sara has not heard from, or received replies to emails or calls from any of Phoenix Trinity’s directors for some time and believes the company has folded. She added: “They didn’t really listen (to us). The development was too optimistic, too ambitious, too edgy, and too expensive.”

Cllr Peter Chowney, lead member for regeneration at HBC, said they are taking action against owners of long-term empty properties. He said: “These properties were built to a high, eco-friendly specification. But it is very frustrating that they remain empty, so we are calling on the property owners to put them on the market now. If these properties remain empty for much longer, the council will have to consider what options are open to us, including the compulsory purchase of the houses, which would mean us putting them on the market ourselves and getting them occupied.”

Phoenix Trinity co-directors were invited by the Observer to comment but no replies had been received at the time of going to press.