Matalan site changes hands

We’ve discovered that the freehold of the Matalan site, on the corner of Temple Road and Cricklewood Broadway, was sold in December. Matalan’s leasehold hasn’t changed and London Power Networks still have their lease on a little square of land at the back, where the transformer is. But the freehold’s now owned by a British Virgin Islands company.

The freehold of the Matalan site used to be owned by the Cadbury Mondelez company pension fund. We used to deal with them about clearing dumped rubbish on the stub of land between Temple Road and the transformer at the back of Matalan. That bit of land isn’t leased to anyone; the freeholders are still fully responsible for it.

In December 2016, they sold the freehold for the whole site to Sentinel Security Inc for £21,750,000. Sentinel Security Inc is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, where company accounts are not readily available and companies don’t have to make public who the directors, shareholders or beneficial owners are. When Sentinel Security Inc bought the site, they did give the UK Land Registry a registered office address in the UK, but that’s a small office used as a registered address by a wide range of UK and BVI companies. (Perhaps by coincidence, it’s quite local: First Floor Offices, 9 Hampstead West, 224 Iverson Road, London NW6 2HL.)

Matalan’s lease runs until 2020. They tell us they have some renewal rights and are not in the habit of closing stores, and a quick look at their accounts for recent years does seem to bear that out; they do close stores sometimes but not often. London Power Networks’ lease on their little square of land runs until 2092.

The Land Registry doesn’t give the general public a way to watchlist land titles, but just in case anyone here has a way, the relevant entries are:
NGL546550: the overall freehold
NGL731908: Matalan’s 25-year lease
NGL713645: the 99-year lease on the transformer land.

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