Barnet Council has granted planning permission for a block of 92 flats to a developer whose flagship project in Kilburn ended up £26 million in debt.

On January 11, the council’s planning committee convened to deliberate over the future of Intec House, in Moxon Street, Chipping Barnet.

Planning officers had written a report recommending the panel grant consent to plans to replace the existing office block with a mixed-use development.

The proposal was submitted by a company, incorporated in December 2021, called Moxon One Limited.

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The company’s director is property developer Paul Simon Godfrey.

One day before Barnet’s planning meeting, a new document was uploaded to Companies House in relation to one of Mr Godfrey’s former development projects – a luxury apartment block in Kilburn called Park Place.

It was an administrator’s progress report.

Park Place

Park Place was sold as a “luxurious, immaculately detailed” block of 60 apartments, overlooking Kilburn Grange Park.

A press release claimed the scheme would “spearhead the ongoing regeneration” of Kilburn’s high street.

An advertisement for the ‘luxurious’ flats at Park Place in Kilburn (Image: Google Streetview)

Paul Godfrey borrowed £19 million from OakNorth Bank and £13 million from other sources to fund the scheme. The development was supposed to make £10 million in profit.

But in December 2020, OakNorth called in administrators after a series of delays.

Buyers who put down deposits in 2018 and were due to move in by spring 2019 were still waiting for their move-in dates.

Those who had moved in said it was a “nightmare” and they were living “on a building site”.

The administrators found the development unfinished and the bank account of 254 Kilburn LLP – the venture set up to deliver the project – empty.

The latest administrator’s report, published on January 10, said OakNorth was owed £25.5 million, HMRC was owed more than £500,000 and other creditors claimed they were owed over £760,000.

The administrators eventually completed the building, but do not believe they will be able to raise sufficient funds to repay even the primary creditor – OakNorth – in full.

Nobody else is expected to be paid anything at all.

Residents who moved into Park Place by the end of 2020 said it was a ‘nightmare’ and they were living ‘on a building site’ (Image: Newsquest)

Explanation

Mr Godfrey said in 2021 that he was “very sorry” for the Park Place delays, which had “all been out of my hands”.

He said the project was affected by problems associated with Brexit and Covid.

He disagreed with OakNorth’s decision to call in the administrators.

He also contested the administrators’ sums.

“We believe that in principle it would be viable to complete the scheme in a manner which maximises the body of the creditors’ interests, realising sufficient funds to settle them, as was our intention,” he told the Ham&High newspaper.

Administrators later wrote a report saying the directors of the Park Place development had refused to co-operate with their investigation and failed to turn over completed accounts.

Barnet Council’s planning committee has granted Paul Godfrey’s firm Moxon One Limited, to replace Intec House, in Moxon Street, with a block of 92 flats (Image: Google Streetview)

Moxon Street

At 49 Moxon Street, Mr Godfrey wants to build a seven-storey development, including 92 flats and 730sq m of employment space.

Barnet Council received dozens of objections, including one from Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers.

Concerns included the size of the building, its impact on local views and what impact it might have on existing parking problems.

But some residents are also concerned about the failure of the Kilburn scheme.

“With a track record of not repaying lenders, how is he going to raise the funding and reach completion for such an ambitious project?” one said to this newspaper.

“A more sensible approach would have been for Mr Godfrey to propose a more achievable development, more in keeping with the three to four-storey blocks in the area, which allowed for adequate parking for the residents therein.”

What next?

Labour councillor Tim Roberts, one of the councillors who voted to approve the application, stressed that the planning committee could not make decisions based on applicants or their backgrounds.

“We look at the planning reasons for acceptance and rejection,” he said. “We get the necessary information to make a planning decision.

“The financing is another matter. It’s not the planning committee being irresponsible. We are fully responsible.”

But he added: “In light of what you’ve told me, it may be necessary for planning officers to take further steps to check on the background of an applicant.

“I might well raise it now with planning officers.”

Mr Godfrey was approached for comment last week via his agent for the planning application, Iceni Projects, and directly.

To date, no reply has been received.