Activists in Pollards Hill Residents Association and the Save Pollards Hill campaign are intrigued by what appears to be Devine Homes active marketing their 18 Pollards Hill West (The Brambles) project, even though it is understood that they do not yet own the land.
Devine has not published an advertisement. It is understood that the marketing is through Bernard Marcus passing the details onto developers they think might be interested. Devine are thought to be asking for £2,250,000, and it is estimated that if sale goes through it would make a £1m profit.
Devine obtained planning permission to build 5 houses against strong opposition from residents, Pollards Hill Residents Association, the Norbury RAs Joint Planning Committee, and the local Councillors.
A major ground for opposition is concern that existing problems of flooding and surface water drainage will be aggravated by the loss of trees and open ground soaking up rainwater. The Hill already experiences water problems adversely affecting foundations of homes at the bottom of the hill around the site, resulting in some owners not being able to obtain buildings insurance for their homes.
Activists are wondering whether Devine is telling potential developers that it does not own the site, and that there are serious flooding and surface water drainage concerns. As they have no legal duty to inform potential buyers that there are restrictive covenants prevent building on part of the site.
The attempt to sell may be because the owners of the covenants have made it to clear they will enforce them. This would prevent Devine or a future owner from building all the approved properties.
The current owners of the existing house, The Brambles, and the area subject to the covenants, have turned down alternative offers to sell from residents who want purchase the existing beautiful property to restore it and enjoy it as an exceptional family home, and have offered the current owners very considerably more than Devine Homes, who the owners feel have them in a binding contract, which in fact is highly legally contentious.
Apparently the process of trying to sell a site or property by developers who do not own them is known as flipping.