Southwark council may take legal action against Ann Summers-owned housebuilder over London scheme.
Southwark council is preparing to prosecute south London developer Greenwich House Properties for alleged breaches of the Building Regulations.

The developer, whose parent company is the Ann Summers chain of lingerie retailers, was recently featured in Building, when it was reported that some residents had moved into properties at its New Kent Road/Balfour Mews development without having the proper warranty certificates in place.

This latest incident involves the company allegedly failing to secure building control approval on the same site before buyers of the properties moved in.

Southwark council’s building control manager, Robert Jones said: “To date, I have not received notice under regulation 14(5) of the Building Regulations 1991 either formally or informally of intended occupation of any of the units on the development. We take safety very seriously. We will be seeking prosecutions. People have got to work within the rules.”

  He continued: “Statements have been taken from occupants stating when they moved in and that they were unaware that the proper building control inspections had not been carried out.”

Jones said he felt it was a prima facie case for prosecution for failing to give notice of occupation and that he was was taking legal advice from the council’s lawyers.

He added: “The papers should be finalised by the end of June.”

However, Greenwich House Properties managing director David Tearle said he knew of no reason why the council would prosecute.

Tearle said: “I am unaware of any action being taken. As far as I am concerned all the properties have been signed off by the council. I am not aware that I have broken any laws or regulations.”

If the council goes ahead with prosecution and the developer is found guilty, Greenwich House Properties could face fines of about £5000 for each incident.

Residents on the development have said they are happy with the properties they bought, but the absence of building control approval could raise difficulties on the resale of the properties.

The case highlights the different regimes governing private and public sector building control.

Although the Greenwich House Properties development in Southwark is under the building control supervision of the council, the developer could have used private sector building inspectors.

Under Building (Approved Inspectors) Regulations 1985, which govern private sector inspectors, the builder does not need to notify local authorities before occupation takes place. It is the duty of the inspector to notify the local authority.

Tearle said he was unaware the two systems were so different.