Report: #1172094

Complaint Review: Colonnade House, Summerberry Residences

  • Submitted: Mon, August 25, 2014
  • Updated: Mon, August 25, 2014
  • Reported By: CD — UK Other
  • Colonnade House, Summerberry Residences


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Colonnade House Construction Limited

The Debt 

CIK have been instructed to recover a debt of £122,261 owing from this company for air supply and extraction work carried out on Colonnade House in the Summer of 2012.

Colonnade House was converted into student apartments (PODS) in 2012 and is located at Sunbridge Road, Bradford, BD1 2LQ. It has been rebranded twice since then, first to The Fort and now to Summer Berry Residences,presumably to try and avoid bad financial press.

EPG Group 

The property group behind Colonnade House have serious bad debt form. The holding company is Empirical Property Group Limited - EPG (name changed from Fresh Start Holdings (Manchester) Limited in January 2013) which owned the company FSL Properties Colonnade Limited that owned Colonnade House. EPG was incorporated in February 2011.

The Directors of EPG are Charles Cunningham, Philip Wright and Christian Yates with Cunningham owning 10% of the shares and a Alan Pierce 90%.

Alan Pierce and Philip Wright have had previous property companies that have gone into compulsory liquidation, Wrightchoice Developments Limited (Company Number: 03768709) owing £4.2M and Pierce Properties Limited (Company No. 06578485). There is another individual Andrew Camilleri who has been involved but he was made bankrupt in 2011 for £9M and had to resign his directorships.

The group was fronted until recently by Fresh Start Living Limited (FSL) where Cunningham, Wright, Pierce and Camilleri were all Directors. The FSL acronym has been used in numerous company names within the group. Fresh Start Living went into compulsory liquidation in December 2013.

Colonnade House Company Structure

Like other properties purchased by EPG (there have been 15 or so similar to Colonnade House) there is a company that owns the freehold, a company for the contractors and a lettings/management company.

For Colonnade House they were as follows:

  • FSL Properties Colonnade Limited (Incorporated August 2011) Directors: Philip Wright
  • Colonnade House Construction Limited (Incorporated May 2012) Directors: Philip Wright then Paul Statham-Walker
  • FSL Management Colonnade Limited (Incorporated May 2012) Directors: Philip Wright then Paul Statham-Walker
  • Buy to Let Bradford LLP (Incorporated October 2013) Directors: Paul Statham-Walker

FSL Properties Colonnade Limited went into voluntary liquidation in June 2014.

Colonnade House Construction Limited and FSL Management Colonnade Limited are being dissolved by Companies House due to the two companies having never filed accounts. A commentary on Buy to Let Bradford will be made under Christian Yates's bio.

We understand that the main contractors to Colonnade House via Colonnade House Construction Limited, including our client, have not been paid and there is a view that there was no intention of ever paying them.

Colonnade House Value

There are 224 student apartments of which at least 52 have been sold on 125 year leases at an average value of £40,000.

The freehold was sold by FSL Properties Colonnade Limited in November 2012 to a London based property company called Four Daughters Limited for £773,760. It is not known at this stage who has the beneficial interest of the 224 leases but it is presumed that the imputed value of £9M (224 apartments @ £40,000) lies somewhere within the EPG Group, as does the cash from the sale of the freehold.

It should be noted that the net assets of EPG went from £2M in July 2012 to £23M (mostly fixed assets) in July 2013, which may account for the Colonnade House missing assets.

Other Similar Properties

It would appear that a property, Montgomery House of Demesne Road, Whalley Range, South Manchester, M16 8HP, has gone down the same route and one presumes that other properties in the group have had a similar fate.

  • FSL Properties Montgomery Limited. Directors: Philip Wright
  • XXX Construction Limited (Investigating name)
  • FSL Management Montgomery Limited. Directors: Philip Wright

FSL Properties Montgomery Limited went into compulsory liquidation in January 2014.

FSL Management Montgomery Limited went into compulsory liquidation in January 2013.

Other potential sites are Empress Mill, Greenock, St Thomas, Victoria Halls and Ford Lane. 

Relevant Directors

They are Charles Cunningham, Philip Wright, Christian Yates and Paul Statham- Walker. There are approximately ~ 25 companies active in the group, all owned or influenced by EPG.

All these companies give a registered office of 7 Empress Street, Manchester, M16 9EN but this is a post drop. They actually all work from Suite 7C, 7th Floor, Blackfriars House, Parsonage Gardens, Manchester, M3 2JA.

Charles Cunningham (DOB Dec 1978)

Charles is the CEO of EPG and a 10% shareholder. His bio is well documented on the internet.

We are looking to prove in due course that he is a shadow director of the Colonnade group of companies.

Yes, I met him twice whilst we were chasing monies. It was him who offered other properties as equity, at their offices in Swinton at the time. Bxxxxxx was driving a S65 Mercedes, cost new £120K!

Cunningham is or was until recently a Director of ~ 15 companies within the group. Those with a bad debt track record are as follows:

  • Fresh Start Living Limited - Compulsory Liquidation December 2013
  • Empirical Property Group Limited (EPG) - Has recent CCJs
  • Urban Blox Limited - Has recent CCJs (Resigned May 2014)
  • EPG Construction Limited - Has recent CCJs (Resigned April 2014)
  • Student & Affordable Property Limited - Forced to resign from this company and 2 other related SAP companies in October 2013. The people behind this company had loaned monies to EPG in 2012 and their comments were as follows:

I am aware of the appalling behaviour and financial mess caused by EPG and those connected to it. We are all one of a number of people who are suffering losses at the hands of this company. We have severed all connections with them other than unfortunately having an outstanding loan to them, which we made before we realised how dreadful their financial situation was. It remains to be seen how big our losses will become .I am afraid all I can do is look on helplessly from outside. I do hope that you manage to get recovery of what is due to you and your client.


Cunningham's current group defence is that EPG has a claim against lawyers on the Trafford Press property of between £5M and £250M. No evidence can be found for the validity of this claim and one would suggest that it is just a flanker to buy time.


Christian Yates

Christian is the only non-executive Director of EPG and has an impeccable bio and it is thus confusing as to why he should have blotted his CV with the EPG crowd.


We are unsure of his role within the EPG group but he does have a financial interest noted on the website of Buy to let Bradford LLP, where Paul Statham-Walker is the Director, with a postcode that matches the 7 Empress Street address, as follows:


Buy To Let Bradford is an exclusive Investment Agent acting on behalf of Cherif Investment Properties Limited and Lord Beaverbrook. The Development, The Fort (see top of page under The Debt paragraph), stands as a monolithic landmark overlooking the City of Bradford, offering great student accommodation PODS in a strong location. Student investment from £39,950....


Now Christian Yates is a Director of Cherif Investment Properties Limited. We are currently investigating whether this company has a financial interest in the apartments at Colonnade House or indeed in any of the other properties owned by EPG.


Paul Statham-Walker (DOB April 1980)

Paul is a Director of 8 companies within the EPG group. Evidence would suggest he is made a Director when the company is deemed worthless and being let go. His role within EPG would appear to be that of a sales person, having served previously as a Corporal in the Army.


He goes by the name Paul Statham-Walker, Paul Statham and Paul Walker. His most recent Directorship is at Urban Blox where he calls himself Paul Walker and has changed his DOB to July 1980, presumably to hide his past Directorships as Paul Statham-Walker

On the Urban Blox website he calls himself Paul Statham 


His relevant companies with a bad debt footprint are as follows: 

  • Trafford Press Construction Limited - Compulsory Liquidation August 2013
  • Freshstart Living (No 9) Limited - Voluntary Liquidation February 2014
  • Colonnade House Construction Limited - Has recent CCJs
  • Empress Mill Construction Limited - Has recent CCJs. Camilleri was a Director until 2013.
  • Urban Blox Limited - Has recent CCJs

Philip/Phillip Wright (DOB June 1958)

Philip is a Director of EPG and of another ~ 25 companies within the EPG group. His bio is well documented on the internet. His relevant companies with a bad debt footprint are as follows:

  • Wrightchoice Developments Limited - Voluntary Liquidation March 2011
  • FSL Management Montgomery Limited - Compulsory Liquidation January 2013
  • FSL Properties Trafford Press Limited - Administration September 2013
  • Fresh Start Living Limited - Compulsory Liquidation December 2013 (Resigned July 2013)
  • FSL Properties Montgomery Limited - Compulsory Liquidation January 2014
  • Freshstart Living (No 9) Limited - Voluntary Liquidation February 2014 (Resigned July 2013)
  • FSL Properties Colonnade Limited - Voluntary Liquidation June 2014
  • FSL Properties Victoria Halls Limited - Has recent CCJs
  • FSL Properties Ford Lane Limited - Has recent CCJs
  • FSL Management Ford Lane Limited - Has recent CCJs
  • FSL Properties Greenock Limited - Has recent CCJs
  • FSL Management Greenock Limited - Has recent CCJs
  • FSL Properties St Thomas Limited - Has recent CCJs
  • FSL Management St Thomas Limited - Has recent CCJs
  • Empirical Property Group Limited (EPG) - Has recent CCJs


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Updates & Rebuttals


#1 Consumer Suggestion

Viewpoint Salford, Freshstart Llving, Prime Noble Properties

AUTHOR: User2161318 - (Hong Kong)

 Rotherham Development linked to Dubious Investment Schemes Work is slow on a housing development in Rotherham town centre with development companies wound up and even linked to protests in Hong Kong by worried investors. Revised plans to convert the historic Howard Building into self-contained studios and apartments were approved by the planning board at Rotherham Council in 2015. The prominent former college building was sold prior to going to auction after it was advertised as a development opportunity and given a guide price of £250,000 by local auctioneers, Mark Jenkinson & son. With little evidence of the conversion into twelve, one bed apartments and 60 studio apartments at "Howard Residencies", applicants, AVRO Developments headed into insolvency, with Rotherham Council leading the petition in 2015 to have the company wound up. Financial documents link AVRO Developments to DS7 Limited which has acted as a lender to Absolute Living Developments, Fresh Start Living and Empirical Property, all highlighted in the media as leaving buy-to-let investors out of pocket. Similar schemes in Manchester, Bradford and across the North of England were sold off plan to investors with the promise of decent returns, but the work was never completed and companies were wound up and projects moved on in complex deals. In some cases where some work was carried out, tenants were left with exposed electrical wires, a leaking roof, an illegal gas connection, a car park strewn with contaminated waste and an open sewer pipe. The Telegraph & Argus reported this year that police in Hong Kong are conducting an international investigation into Liverpool-based Absolute Living Developments, which had been part-way through three apartment projects in Bradford when it was placed in compulsory liquidation. Overseas investors fear they have lost their money paid in deposits. Howard Residencies is currently being offered as an investment opportunity by Crown Union (located at a virtual office in London and shares directors with companies linked to the Howard Building and DS7 Limited). It is offered as an "Ideal purchase for investors looking at UK Buy To Let's as a way of getting onto the first rung of the property investment ladder. From dynamic apartment layouts to classic period façade and stonework surrounds, this redevelopment brings together Rotherham past and present to create a truly unique place to live for post-graduates, young professionals & key workers." Starter pads and 1 bed apartments are being offered at £49,950 and £69,950 with an 8% ROI per annum. %20%20se_continues_as_number_of_people_alleging_de ceptio%20%20n_grows/ Crown Union website by Tom Austen

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#2 Consumer Suggestion

Fresh Start Living Limited, DS7 Limited, Absolute Living Developments, Tim Ackrel

AUTHOR: Mary Chan - (Hong Kong)

The Mill / Orchid Point property in Trafford, UK developed by ALD /FSL 

The property is sold by Absolute Livings Development Ltd (ALD)sold with a 10 year net rental guarantee of 8.5% p.a. and the rentals for the first 2 years are used to offset the selling price. The sales agent called Hong Kong Homessaid no need to pay ground rent or service charges for the first 10 years because ALD will pay. The sales brochure also says 8.5% net minimum annual rental return. The development project is called The Mill with 38 units, 33 3bedroom duplex flats and 5 penthouses. Most units were sold by HKH in 2014


The buyers are mostly from Hong Kong and in Oct 2015 received solicitors letters asking payment of ground rent and service charges for 2014 and 2015. ALD did not reply to any queries as if disappeared. No quarterly rent account statements was ever produced. Edwen Yew resigned as director 30 Aug 2015 and transferred all the share to a Mr Leong. He appeared to still play an active role. At the same time, ALD sent a few emails to all unit buyers to offer the sale of freehold and mentioned that by paying for the freehold, unit buyers will not have to pay the ground rent any more. ALD changed ownership again in Dec 2015 to DMH & Co by Daniel Mark Harrison. The lease was sold by a company called FSL Properties Empress Mill Ltd and the management company named in the lease is called Orchid Point Management Company Ltd. The management agreement was with ALD. ALD Property projects sold by Hong Kong Homes have similar or completion problems, Summerberry ResidencesOlicana.

When pressured by groups of buyers, Samson Law said he would resolve the problems with Charles Cunningham and Tim Ackrel (using their DS7 emails).

The unit buyers afraid they may not get the rental after the 2 year guaranteed period even if give the 60 days notice under the management agreement because ALD appears to have disappeared. The 5 penthouse units are not yet completed because no work was done for over a year and the main staircase to enter the block is said to be unfit for people walking so there may be fire and safety compliance. Not sure the duplex design may meet the safety requirement. When paying for the initial deposit, the buyers were told by Hong Kong Homes they would get a specified free car park. Later, they were told such car park was not available but replaced by a right to park outside the building. 

From past reportings on the news, the companies concerned(Empirical, FSL) have similar directors Charles CunninghamWright. The role of solicitors are also very confusing:

Tim Ackrel

l       Acts as seller company [FSL Properties Empress Mill Ltd] solicitors in the sale agreement    :  Tim Ackrel, Empirical Property Group Ltd

l       Tim is sole director of a company called DS7. DS7 is the company that lends money to ALD to purchase FSL properties. ALD has charged its asset to DS7.

l       Tim is also the legal head of ALD (so ALD has charged its assets to a staff?)

l   Tim acts both for the landlord (FSL Properties Empress Mill or ALD Orchid Point), and the management company (ALD Ltd) He uses the landlord’s name to demand money from unit buyers but he totally ignored the responsibility of the management company to pay the ground rent and service charges per the management contract. He is using his legal expertise against the unwary overseas buyers? 

The solicitors letters were sent at the same time regardless of when individual buyers purchased the units but the purchase time may vary many months. If they had sent the first letter on first due date in late 2014 or early 2015, other potential buyers might know and not buy. In short, this may be a well structured sales scheme. Other development projects by ALD sold by Hong Kong Homes are Summerberry Residences, Olicana and Alexander House. The last two are not yet completed. Summerberry buyers also received solicitors letters. No work appeared done for the last year on the outstanding work at the Mill (staircase, penthouses), and yet they are selling a site opposite calledThe Mill B via a sales agent called MIG, a Malaysian group. Edwen Yew is also Malaysian.  


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#3 Consumer Comment

White House Runcorn, Absolute Living Developments, Intel Invest,, Youtube

AUTHOR: graham m - (manchester)

VIDEO: Promotional video for controversial Runcorn flats project targets international investors

Images of Porsche and investors appear alongside CGI flats image and alluring selling points such as rents of '£470-£560' a month.


A video has surfaced online aimed at luring international investors to take a punt on a controversial flats project at East Lane House in Runcorn. Picture: Youtube/Absolute Living Developments/Joey Chew


MARKETING is well under way to persuade investors to take a punt on a controversial flats project in Runcorn.

A video has surfaced on Youtube showing clips of Runcorn cut in among CGI images of the ‘White House’ former Department Of Employment building on East Lane near Runcorn Shopping Centre.

The promotional film also includes a scene depicting a conversation with an investor, as well as a purported home hunter by the name of ‘Brian Lark’.

The video highlights Runcorn’s location within two hours of Liverpool, Manchester and London as one of its attractive factors.

It added that rental demand in the town is ‘huge’ with tenants paying £470-£560 per month.


The sales website where the video also appeared said there is 'strong demand' in Runcorn because 'the current economic climate has resulted in a shortage of social housing'.

Absolute Living Developments, the firm behind the video, had entered legal wrangling with Halton Borough Council over its refusal for the firm to convert the derelict East Lane House office into 448 flats.

The project has attracted criticism including from councillors who have blasted it as ‘barmy’ and claim it will become the ‘slums of the future’.

Absolute Living Developments has lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate and has pledged a ‘robust’ fight to overturn the local authority’s rejection.

Cllr Kath Loftus, Labour, Halton Lea, said: “It’s no surprise that they don’t show any artist impression of these tiny studio apartments or should I say bedsits.

“On the same (Youtube) website there was a collection of photographs past and present of Runcorn which show quite clearly that renters in Runcorn don’t like to rent flats, hence the demolition of both Southgate and large areas of Castlefields.

“And that accommodation was a lot better than what is on offer in The White House.”


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#4 Consumer Comment

"The White House" Runcorn, Absolute Living Developments

AUTHOR: CeeGee - ()

I've just read the marketing brochure for the development, which they're calling "The White House" in Runcorn. It's aimed at overseas Asian investors buying the individual flats, here's the blurb:

"Absolute Living Developments are the No.1 source for high-yielding UK investments, delivered direct to Asian investors.

"With core experience in the delivery of new and refurbished
UK residential and student developments, Absolute Living
Developments offers a tailored investment service unlike any other.

"Our company goal is to be the market leader for UK property
investment – together with our teams based in Malaysia, Kuala
Lumpur and the UK, we have developed a strong portfolio of
assets ranging in size and value in some of the UK’s largest
cities and a far reaching agent network spread across Hong
Kong, China and Malaysia."

So get ready for a slew of absentee landlords!

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#5 Consumer Comment

DS7 Limited, Absolute Living Developments, Tim Ackrel

AUTHOR: graham m - (manchester)

Developers Link To Failed Firm


A company behind a controversial bid to turn a derelict government building in Runcorn into flats has distanced itself from another firm that went bust under a cloud of anger from investors and the Advertising Standards Agency in 2013.


Absolute Living Developments (ALD) has applied to convert East Lane House next to Runcorn Shopping Centre into 448 studio and single-bedroom flats.


On Friday, it confirmed to the Weekly News that it had taken over some part-completed developments from Fresh Start Living (FSL), which went into liquidation in 2013.


The company’s statement came after the Weekly News found loan documents lodged with Government business website Companies House relating to third party lender DS7 Ltd.


The forms showed that DS7 had loaned cash to ALD for the East Lane House project, with the terms of the contract granting DS7 Ltd power to appoint one of its officers as a receiver in the event that ALD goes into receivership.


The contract also gives DS7 Ltd the power to ‘take possession’ of the flats in the case of ALD’s demise.


Another form lists the recipient on a forwarding address for DS7 Ltd as ‘for the attention of Charles Cunningham’.


The Weekly News asked ALD whether this was linked to former Fresh Start Living director Charles Alexander Clunie Cunningham, who was the subject of a critical article by Daily Mirror investigative report Andrew Penman in September 2013.


Further documents on Companies House showed that a former Fresh Start Living director, Philip Wright, had been a director at ‘Absolute Living Developments (Orchid Point)’ – another company with a loan from DS7 Ltd.


ALD’s spokeswoman said Philip Wright had been on the board of a ‘vehicle’ that owned a FSL development site acquired by ALD.


He was replaced after the acquisition.


She said there was ‘no relation’ between ALD and DS7 Ltd.


Fresh Start Living went into liquidation in 2013.


Andrew Penman, of the Daily Mirror, said the firm had left investors fuming after they alleged they were left out of pocket having pumped thousands of pounds into properties renovated by FSL.


FSL was also investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after a complaint was made over the firm’s claim to have made a £4m profit. The ASA upheld the grievance.


The Business Desk reported in September 2013 that Stockport Council and Greater Manchester Fire And Rescue Service were taking separate actions over safety breaches.


An ALD spokeswoman said: “Absolute Living Developments have acquired a number of developments around the country.


“Some of these were part-completed developments from Fresh Start Living which were acquired when it went into administration, one being Orchid Point whereby Absolute Living Developments acquired the vehicle that owned the site.


“Philip Wright was on the board of the vehicle and was replaced when the acquisition completed – there is no other connection between Absolute Living Developments and Fresh Start Living.


“DS7 Limited is a lender to Absolute Living Developments on certain developments.”


The Weekly News tried to contact DS7 Ltd for comment.


Halton Borough Council’s development control committee is due to hold a ‘special meeting’ tonight to decide whether to allow ALD’s proposed conversion of East Lane House into flats.


The scheme has been blasted as ‘barmy’ by Halton Lea ward’s Cllr Dave Thompson.


ALD insists it will attract young professionals and key workers.


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#6 Author of original report

Absolute Living Developments Ltd, Olicana House Bradford, Malaysia Investors

AUTHOR: anonymous - ()

Absolute Living Developments Ltd is also marketing Olicana House Bradford and employs Andrew Norton who also worked at Freshstart Living

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