Concern over future of Robbie Fowler backed new homes scheme – Liverpool Echo

A politician has expressed concern over the future of a major property scheme backed by former Liverpool FC player Robbie Fowler.

Last February Mr Fowler announced a partnership with developer Elatus for a scheme called St Anne’s Gardens.

In February last year a representative for Mr Fowler told the ECHO that work was set to start within 12 weeks and they hoped to complete the 325 home scheme in the autumn of 2021.

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The former Liverpool striker, one of the club’s most celebrated players, released a statement last year which read : “I’m delighted to announce that I have teamed up with Elatus Development Group to develop St Anne’s Gardens.”

“I have always had a passion for property development and to be part of a big project like this is not only great for my personal ambition but will be great for this region of Liverpool.”

Mr Fowler, who grew up in Toxteth, scored 183 goals for Liverpool and became a cult figure amongst fans during his playing career. In more recent years Mr Fowler has been reported to own a large number of properties in the UK.

Last year an agent linked to the scheme claimed that 50 apartment had been sold and that the development should complete by the end of this year.

Over recent weeks the ECHO has investigated some of the facts surrounding the development which is the corner of Fox Street in Everton.

We can now reveal that:

No new homes have been built on the site

The value of the land increased by £950,000 over a 24 hour period on May 2 2017

The site was sold by Pointfield Developments Limited to Pinnacle MC Global Network Limited for £2,350,000.00 on May 2 2017

Pinnacle MC Global Network Limited then sold the land to St Anne’s (Liverpool) Limited (‘SAL’) for £2,380.000.00 on May 2 2017

St Anne’s (Liverpool) Limited then sold the land to St Annes Street Limited for £3,300,000.00 on May 2 2017

St Annes Street Limited, the current owners of the site, filed their accounts that were due in April three months late. This resulted in a proposal to strike off against the company.

The company’s next set of accounts are now due.

The company has assets of £3,185,783, and owes the same amount to a bank.

There is no suggestion the current owners of the site are linked to any of the previous owners.

Development land on St Anne Street/Fox Street junction.
The St Anne Street site on the edge of Liverpool city centre
(Image: Liverpool Echo)

Richard Kemp, leader of Liverpool’s Liberal Democrat grouping, said: “The research carried out by the Liverpool ECHO on this site is a reminder of the challenges that face investors.

“In this case there appears to have been a gulf between what was promised and what has been delivered so far.

“The manner in which the value of land can increase so dramatically within a 24 hour period is disconcerting.”

A spokesman for the developers behind St Anne’s Gardens said: “The amount made by the previous land owner was based on a three to four year option.

“They will have had huge costs to get it through planning and three to four years of work to get it through. So, I think the actual amount ( of money) made between these parties will have been a lot less. We only see what was paid against what it sold for, which was also slightly less than is on land registry.

“We took advice from our funder and took an independent valuation of the site . We were happy with the amount we paid for the site.

“The site has been delayed for a number of factors some of which were beyond our control.

“Early last year the planning permission on the site lapsed and we thought we could resurrect it within a matter of weeks.

“Unfortunately we had to submit a new planning application which took 10 months to get through and significant costs.

A CGI image of the proposed scheme at St Anne Street
The St Anne’s Garden scheme in Everton
(Image: ©2015 Infinite 3D Ltd)

“We then had to negotiate the s106 agreement ( where a developer agrees to fund a scheme that is for the public benefit) with the council which then took us into this year. There has also been the pandemic.

“There have also been many issues around the price and supply of building materials and negotiations failed with a number of contractors.

“On a plus note we have now negotiated deals with contractors and we are now looking to be on site as soon as physically possible.

“The scheme is based on sales but is a funded scheme and sales will work in conjunction with funding and we also have paid to organise insolvency cover for the project.

“Our accounts show a debt on the site and there is a charge to a bank.

“Gaining development funding is difficult and complex. We have been paying interest on the debt.

“We filed a late confirmation statement earlier this year during a period of time when one of our directors suffered a bereavement.”

The ECHO understands Robbie Fowler is still an ambassador for the scheme. The ECHO approached him for comment, but he did not wish to say anything at this stage.

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