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Offshore owners of Alexandra Pub development made to pay back business rates

PUBLISHED: 12:14 09 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:01 09 March 2017

Locals campaigning to re-open The Alexandra pub on Fortis Green in 2014. Pictured centre, Cllr Patrick Berryman.

Locals campaigning to re-open The Alexandra pub on Fortis Green in 2014. Pictured centre, Cllr Patrick Berryman.

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The off-shore owners of The Alexandra Pub, who are developing it into luxury flats, have been made to pay back thousands of pounds of business rates after their charity exemption was found to be invalid

The Ham&High revealed last year that the developers who bought The Alexandra Pub on Fortis Green Road, where locals Ray and Dave Davies of The Kinks once partied, were not paying business rates.

Freeholders have to pay rates on empty properties, unless there is an exemption, such as that they are leasing it to a charity.

STO Capital claimed that they were leasing the pub out to a charity, Aid for All Ltd, which collects and donates household goods and food in warehouses around the country to “relieve poverty”, as described on its website.

To an outside observer, however, the pub looked derelict and empty.

When previously questioned, Isidore Horowitz of Aid for All described himself as a “pawn in the game”.

He said the charity had been leasing the premises “for much lower than the going rate” for just over a year, but that they could be given 30 days notice.

Haringey Council has now removed the charitable status from the pub, following our article, as well as backdating business rates payments up to February 2014.

The spokesman said: “Business Rate reliefs are designed to support charities and good causes around the borough.

“When we confirmed the Alexandra pub’s charitable status was no longer valid we removed it, meaning the property’s freeholders are now liable for full Business Rate which has been backdated to February 2014.”

The charitable status was removed in January this year and the developers now have to pay £10,406 a year.

After buying the pub in 2014, STO Capital, based in the British Virgin Islands, lodged an application to turn it into two flats.

The Kinks’ Dave Davies made a passionate plea for it to be saved.

“My family used to have gatherings here where we’d sing songs around the piano,” he said.

“It was an influence on the Kinks as me and Ray listened to a lot of different music here.

“It would be tragic to lose this London asset.”

More than 1,000 people signed a petition calling for The Alexandra to remain a pub, rather than being turned into flats in 2014, but permission was eventually granted on appeal for the pub to become two three-bed family homes.

Shahrzad Etemadi of New Images Ltd, named on the most recent planning application as an agent, did not respond to a request for comment.

STO Capital could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, pub campaigners across Haringey, Camden and Barnet continue to campaign for greater protection for pubs from offshore companies.

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