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

PegasusLife says Knowle to retain age restriction (for now?)

“… When approached for a comment by the Herald, a PegasusLife spokesman said: “The approved scheme at Portishead has a very different level of care requirement in terms of hours of care required and scope of what is included in the definition of care compared to the Sidmouth development.

“We have no plans to submit an application to remove the age restriction or change the use class at Sidmouth.”

https://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/developers-pegasuslife-assure-the-same-won-t-happen-in-sidmouth-as-it-did-in-portishead-1-6325896

BUT PegasusLife is merging with two other companies

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/10/05/big-changes-for-pegasuslife-maybe-knowle-wont-be-retirement-homes/

and will soon be called “Lifestory” – will new brooms sweep in different directions?

Sale of Knowle site to PegasusLife – final numbers in

You decide whether it represents value for money (and maybe take some developer costs with big pinches of salt):

District council reveals how much developer will pay for former Sidmouth HQ – with new retirement community ‘set to be worth £50m’

Big changes for PegasusLife – maybe Knowle won’t be retirement homes …

“Property developers PegasusLife, Anthology and Renaissance Retirement have announced that the three companies will merge to create Lifestory, a housebuilder that will cater to every rung on the property ladder, from starter to retirement homes.

Lifestory will operate across three regions, creating developments under all three of the existing brands through local teams. PegasusLife Group CEO, Mark Dickinson, becomes Lifestory’s CEO with three regional Managing Directors reporting to him.

The South and South West region will be led by Marc Evans, currently Chief Operating Officer at PegasusLife Group; the North and Midlands by Mike Gill, currently Regional Development Director at PegasusLife Group; and the London and South East region by Steve Bangs, currently Managing Director at Anthology.

Lifestory will be backed and funded by Oaktree Capital Management, current majority owner of both Anthology and the PegasusLife Group.

Focusing on the full spectrum of property development, the three regions will build homes tailored to first time buyers through to older customers looking to downsize.

Mark Dickinson, Lifestory CEO said: “We have created Lifestory to bring together three strong customer facing brands that will deliver on our goal to transform customer experience when buying a new home, whatever stage of life our customers are at.

“This is an exciting new venture for Anthology, PegasusLife and Renaissance Retirement as each company brings a range of strengths to the combined business, but at the core is a commitment to providing outstanding customer experience.

“Our customers’ shared aspirations for quality homes and quality of life is at the centre of our business model, with their stories and lives at the heart of our ethos and approach.

“The combined regional companies have been rebranded Lifestory, however we will continue to trade to our customers through our sub-brands. This flexible approach allows us to address the needs of different customers and communities across the country.

“The collective portfolio currently amounts to some 50 projects and with the launch of Lifestory, we have ambitious growth plans to double this within a three-year period. Our refreshed and united approach sets us in a strong and unique position to successfully achieve these targets.”

Three developers merge to create new housebuilder Lifestory

“Revealed: The thousands of public spaces lost to the council funding crisis”

Using the postcode finder (and note this does not include 2018 when AT LEAST EDDC sold off son]me of Knowle park and Beach Light Housing at Seaton);

“Between 2014 and 2017, East Devon Council sold
15
spaces for more than
£233,853”

https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2019-03-04/sold-from-under-you?

Details of the properties can be found using the pistcode finder on the website.

PegasusLife removes age restriction on luxury Portishead flats (“not viable” they say)

Seems about the same size as the proposed Sidmouth development at the old EDDC HQ, but without the sea views and parkland location …

“Pegasus Life unveiled proposals to change the use of its recently-completed Marina Gardens project, in Martingale Way, at Portishead Town Council’s meeting on September 11.

The developer completed construction of the 126-home complex – intended for ‘assisted living’ for elderly people – over the summer, but has decided its plans ‘won’t work financially’.

Instead, it will submit an application to North Somerset Council to remove the age restriction to allow the properties to be sold on the open market.

An additional apartment will be created as a result, while 38 will be earmarked for affordable housing schemes.

Emma Webster, Pegasus Life’s head of corporate affairs, said: “As we headed towards the final stages of the development, one of the things we have discovered is quite a lot has gone on.

“In the intervening period (since the application), there have been a number of developments built in North Somerset to address the requirement (for assisted living homes).

“We have taken the decision the application we secured consent for won’t work financially.”

The developer plans to increase parking capacity from 96 to 127 and Ms Webster believes the homes will offer a better ‘quality of life’ for owners.

She also told councillors the firm sees a need for ‘this type of accommodation in Portishead’, and will not be ‘importing people into the area’.

The plans were met with anger from members of the public.

Portishead resident Ken Smith, after hearing Pegasus Life’s presentation, described the development as the ‘worst building in Portishead’.

He continued: “I could probably live with it if you were going to look after old people, but you’ve realised you’re not selling them and you need to make more money by selling to any Tom, Dick and Harry.

“I think you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

Jonathan Mock labelled the building ‘horrific’ in public participation.

“It has all the charm of something from the communist bloc in terms of architecture,” he added.”

https://www.northsomersettimes.co.uk/news/marina-gardens-plans-changed-1-6273316?

“‘Questions hang in the air’ over council HQ relocation project”

 

 

Owl says: Leader Ingham seems to be thoroughly persuaded that the previous Tory majority council is whiter than white on the relocation project. Many disagree and had hoped that his new broom might be doing some sweeping – but not under the carpet as seems to be happening.

“A full report will be provided that will analyse in detail East Devon District Council’s relocation from Sidmouth to Honiton as ‘questions hang in the air’ over the project.

East Devon District Council’s moved into their new headquarters at Blackdown House in Honiton on February 11.

The new HQ, which replaced the council’s existing HQ at The Knowle in Sidmouth, 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 controversial decision to relocate offices was taken back in March 2015 as it was decided the council needed to relocate into buildings that are affordable, cost efficient, and would significantly reduce the overheads of the council.

But the relocation project has faced criticism over the lack of transparency throughout the project, the procurement process, and the amount of cash the council received for the sale.

A freedom of information request asking how much the Knowle would be worth with planning permission said the answer was £50m, £42.5m higher than the council agreed to sell the land to Pegasus Life for, the latest edition of Private Eye states, naming the council as a ‘rotten borough’ because of it.

At Wednesday night’s full council meeting, Cllr Paul Arnott, leader of the East Devon Alliance, said that ‘questions hang in the air’ over the project.

He asked: “Both the disposal of the Knowle HQ and the procurement of the new Honiton HQ are matters of great concern to thousands of people in East Devon. Questions will hang in the air until they are fully addressed.

“Will the leader of the council support the immediate creation of a councillor-led working party, politically balanced, of up to 10 members, all of them newly elected in 2019, reporting to the scrutiny committee, to look into these matters in the public interest?”

In response, Cllr Ben Ingham, the council leader, said: “Relocation has been a key element of the council’s transformation agenda in terms of delivering against priorities of reducing council operational costs and introducing modern ways of working.

“Throughout its lifetime the relocation project has been subject to regular reporting to cabinet and council, dedicated project management, senior member and officer oversight through the Office Accommodation Executive Group, regular risk review and the scrutiny of South West Audit Partnership.

“Prior to the decision to move to Exmouth and Honiton and dispose of the Knowle site an independent audit was carried out to inform the decision to relocate and to test the financial projections for the project. These findings were included as part of the report to cabinet in March 2015 seeking approval of the move.

“Both Audit and Governance and Overview and Scrutiny committees met jointly to consider the relocation project programme and gave their endorsement. Cabinet and Council were provided with extensive detail, independent evaluation and wider committee endorsement as part of their approval.

“Relocation has been delivered successfully in terms of the physical moves and performance of the council. Furthermore this complex project has been delivered within budget.

“A project closure report will be provided to council at the one year anniversary of the project which will include a full project cost analysis and detail of operational costs for the first year of operation of Blackdown House and annual running costs of Exmouth Town Hall.

“If Scrutiny were so minded they could ask to consider the officer report or undertake a piece of work themselves and as Leader I would not want to restrict or pre-empt their independence to set their own forward plan. The Scrutiny Committee is politically balanced and already well placed to do this without the imposition of a working party which is constitutionally unsound in terms of its suggested membership.”

Cllr Arnott said that ahead of the May elections, the East Devon Alliance manifesto on their website saw their page on the relocation project have page views that were ‘streets ahead’ of anything else.”

He asked: “Can I be assured that if anyone on scrutiny wanted to commission a piece of work on sale off the Knowle and procurement of this, there would be nothing to stop them?”

Cllr Ingham confirmed if a member of scrutiny wanted to request that, then they could do so.

He added: “At the moment the project is coming in favourably to the target budget. The idea of waiting a year before the report was to establish more accurately exactly the savings that the council is making in the new building.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/questions-hang-air-over-council-3148843

EDDC Tories appear in Private Eye’s “Rotten Boroughs” column

From the blog of DCC EDA Independent Councillor Martin Shaw:

Private Eye goes to town on EDDC Tories’ handout to developers of the Knowle

Oh dear – and now “The Independent Group” led by EDDC Leader Ben Ingham has chosen to cosy up to Tories, rather than East Devon Alliance independents, whom he has frozen out.

With current Councillor Ingham having the been a member of all 3 groups and Leader of 2 of them (former Tory, former Leader of East Devon Alliance and current leader of ‘The Independent Group’) he really has to decide which side of the fence and his cohort are on!

Or maybe he has already decided – given that he appointed a Tory as Chairman of the Development Management Committee, who then used his casting vote to push through a controversial planning applucation in Axminster, opposed by Axminster EDA councillors on safety and pollution grounds:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/07/19/eddc-tory-dmc-chairman-uses-his-casting-vote-in-controversial-planning-application/

Reality check needed for some of his colleagues, perhaps?