Puzzle of Phoenix Wharf owners deepens as Bridwell (Thames) Limited is dissolved

Call us old fashioned but if someone moves in next door to where you live it seems only polite to pop round and say “Hi! Welcome to Wapping!” This is the East End, it’s what we do.

For some reason this does not apply to organisations that buy large parts of Wapping with the intention of redeveloping it. They prefer to be anonymous. And so it is really tricky for those who live next door to their new neighbours to say hello.

Bridewell (Thames) Limited record at Companies House

In fact it is impossible. Which seems a bit rude to us. Of course eventually when a development like Phoenix Wharf is done and dusted and the individual dwellings are sold then we get to know the individuals who now live next door.

But Wapping residents never know who the developers are. Which we think is a little rude. Anti-social even.

The Wapping Mole has been digging around the Phoenix Wharf development for some years now and has found out some interesting things about the ownership of the site – of which more another day as it is very complex and involves Moley writing ‘allegedly’ every other line.

The only detail of who is behind the Phoenix Wharf development was from the original Planning Application which stated that that the developer is a company called Bridewell (Thames) Limited. Or should we say was the developer.

‘Cos Bridewell (Thames) Limited was dissolved on 3rd July 2018.

Which led one resident to ask this question: “How can a dissolved company lodge an appeal at the Planning Inspectorate I wonder ?”

It’s Moley Question Time!

Moley thinks this is a most excellent question. And it deserves a most excellent answer. In case you have not followed the story so far there was an appeal lodged with the Planning Inspectorate relating to the site management access plan for Phoenix Wharf which meant (and still means) that Wapping will be chopped in half for two years. We joke not.

The other question is who is the developer of the Phoenix Wharf site now? Because as we are baffled as to how a dissolved company can lodge an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate we also are confused as to how a dissolved company can develop a prime residential location in the centre of E1W.

Hopefully either the council’s planning people can tell us or Cllr. Denise Jones or Cllr. Abdal Ullah can ask on the behalf of Wapping residents.

Moley is going to ask the council too of course.

Why the big secret?

Joking aside the reality is that someone somewhere has decided that ownership of the Phoenix Wharf development should be a secret. Bridewell (Thames) Limited was just a shell company, the most recent directors being two lawyers employed by Trower & Hamlins , Sarah Gooden and  Nick Harrisingh, neither of whom look like they spend much time stomping around building sites.

Shell companies are perfectly legal and have legitimate business purposes, including being used to transfer assets from one company into a new one, while leaving the liabilities in the former company.

One clue to the identity of the developer of Phoenix Wharf might be gleaned from the Trower & Hamlins site which states that “Trowers & Hamlins is an international law firm with offices throughout the UK, Middle East and Far East.”

Trowers itself has its London office just a 100 bus ride away at 3 Bunhill Row (Moorgate). It’s other offices include Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Malaysia and Oman. And we have a feeling that part of Wapping – quite possibly many parts – is owned somewhere in that part of the world.

The Shell Game

The LW resident property expert believes there is a distinct possibility that the site may well have already been sold on to another company, this would fit with Bridewell (Thames) Limited being dissolved as it has served its purpose as just a vehicle for getting the initial planning permission for the Phoenix Wharf site approved and mucky details like the site management access plan approved.

The value of the site will have increased by a reasonable amount. Moley has of course no idea how much that might be. Not that it is any of his business but you know how nosey he is. Naughty Moley!

The new mystery owner will be concealed behind another shell company of course. Probably just shy.

The ownership trail

So far Phoenix Wharf and related development sites has been sold by it’s original owners John Smith’s brewery (who own the Captain Kidd) to whoever the people behind Bridewell (Thames) Limited are and it has now been sold to er, someone else.

When we know who that is (if we ever do) we will let you know. After all it would be nice if we could all pop round and say “Hello! Welcome to Wapping!” We might even get a biscuit and a cuppa.


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