PegasusLife service charges

PegasusLife now own the former EDDC HQ site in Sidmouth. A comment from the Guardian on the poor value of their retirement flats:

“.. you might be interested to know that another of these retirement property firms (Oaktree Capital-owned Pegasus Life) has just jacked up its monthly fees by around 50%. They did this around a fortnight before a relative of mine was due to move into a new build scheme, which is about a year behind schedule. Her monthly fees (for a one-bed flat costing ~£500k) were set to go from £600 to around £900. Absolutely outrageous.”

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/nov/16/flat-retirement-builder-value-mccarthy-stone?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

A visitor to EDDC’s new HQ finds nothing to like … and worries about safety

View from the public gallery at the first Annual Council EDDC meeting (22 May 2019) in the cramped, airless, Council Chamber, poorly provided with natural light. First time visitors and also, no doubt, the impressive number of newly-elected councillors, were in for some further surprises. For instance, people-flow aspects in the arrangement of the room were awkward, as Cllr Moulding signalled early on, when he asked the vicar leading the opening prayer, “Do you want to slip out the sideway or promenade down the middle?” The single-file queue to get out of the room at the end of the meeting, only one door being open, raised questions of health and safety in an emergency.

One veteran former Member of the Council had to point out that in these purpose-built new premises, disabled access was problematic. Other observations overheard in the public gallery questioned why the seating plan allocated to the East Devon Alliance , the third biggest group, was in the back row only, in three separate areas. There was also astonishment that, surrounded by idle hi-tech screens, the CEO had used the oldfashioned, time-wasting way of counting votes.

Some of these evident ‘ teething problems’ can of course be swiftly resolved, under the welcome new cross-Party Leadership.”

EDDC HQ builder goes bust – another privatised services company bites the dust

Shareholder lose money one day, debtors get nothing, hedge fund starts it up again next day with no debts. Who profits? Not us.

“The government contractor Interserve has gone into administration after its largest shareholder, the US hedge fund Coltrane, led a rebellion against financial rescue plans drawn up by the company’s lenders.

About 16,000 small shareholders have lost their investment, with the business sold to hedge funds and banks via a “pre-pack” administration which means Interserve, which employs 45,000 people in the UK, can continue trading.

Interserve has thousands of government contracts including hospital cleaning, school meals and maintenance of military bases in the Falklands. It also runs parts of the probation service, which was part-privatised under a heavily criticised process overseen by the former justice minister Chris Grayling.

The company and the Cabinet Office, which oversees state suppliers, said there would be no disruption to the public services that Interserve manages and job losses were not expected in the short term and the pension scheme was protected.

Interserve’s chief executive, Debbie White, said: “Interserve is fundamentally a strong business and with a competitive financial platform in place we see significant opportunities as a best-in-class partner to the public and private sector.”

But the failure of another outsourcing firm, little more than a year after Carillion’s collapse, sparked fresh calls by trade unions and Labour’s business select committee chair Rachel Reeves for public services to be taken back in-house. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/mar/15/interserve-to-go-into-administration-after-shareholders-reject-deal

EDDC HQ move cost neutral? Don’t make Owl laugh!

“… The new headquarters cost the council £8.7m, while an additional £1.5m was spent on upgrading Exmouth Town Hall – where one third of the council staff are to be based.

The Knowle has been sold to developers Pegasus Life for £7.5m, which has been granted planning permission to convert the building into a 113-apartment [top-end luxury] assisted-living community for older people. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-devon-47369240

It has been estimated by a local property developer that the new HQ has a market value of no more than £3.5 million.