On Thursday 17th and Friday 18th August 23 Caxtons' staff took part in a day volunteering at the Demelza Children's Hospice in Sittingbourne Kent.

Work began at 9:30am and staff helped out with a variety of tasks including excavating landscaped areas, mixing and transporting cement for a new path in the sensory garden, laying new paving slabs, clearing out greenhouses in preparation for the winter months, landscaping and planting new shrubs and flowers.

Domino's provided pizzas for lunch, which were followed by quantities of energy sustaining cakes, then it was back to 'grafting' again in the afternoon.

Work stopped around 4pm when staff were given a tour of the extensive gardens by head gardener, Alison, who said that our teams had been worth their weight in gold providing extra man-power to advance the tasks at hand.

The day finished with a tour of the hospice, visiting the lounge, dining room, art room, music room, soft play area and sensory room, amongst others.

The weather was mostly warm with some sunny intervals, so staff enjoyed being outside, getting some sun and fresh air as a complete change to dealing with residential property and commercial property in Kent, the office, and PC screen!

Overall the day was challenging but a truly rewarding experience for all who took part; giving them the opportunity to contribute to an extremely worthy cause and to experience first-hand the excellent work that Demelza does for children with life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses.

The rest of the Caxtons Team 2

Some of the Caxtons team

Demelza garden

The Demelza Garden

by Charles Oliver BSc MSc FRICS FAAV MEWI FCIArb, Associate Director, Associate Director

Concerns continue over new build houses being sold as leasehold.

The problem stems from onerous lease clauses that double the ground rent as often as every ten years. Consequently, this could make future selling or mortgaging impossible.

In many cases, buyers say they were also encouraged to use developers' recommendations for their conveyancing and mortgage broker.

Until recently, new houses have been sold freehold and some commentators have described this new departure as a profit boosting exercise that should be outlawed.

One developer, Taylor Wimpey, has already set aside £130m to compensate those affected by 'toxic' leases – often sold on to anonymous third or fourth parties whilst the ink is still wet on the contract.

The government has now been galvanised into action and proposes to outlaw 'unjust leases' on new houses.

Sajid Javid the Communities and Local Government Minister said "Enough is enough. These practices are unjust, unnecessary and need to stop. Our proposed changes will help make sure leasehold works in the best interests of homebuyers now and in the future."

The government will consult with the aim to make leases fairer by reducing ground rents to zero in order for them to "relate to real costs incurred". Plans include closing legal loopholes to protect leaseholders left vulnerable to possession orders.

charles oliver 7538 SQU
Charles Oliver

Caxtons is delighted to announce the appointment of Mandy Bearne in her new post as consultant Business Development Manager.

Director David Gurton said "Mandy's previous experience in planning, local government, economic development and inward investment sectors as well as B2B marketing will be an asset in her new job at Caxtons – a role we hope she will develop and make her own."

For the past 14 years Mandy has been employed as Director of Marketing and Research for the investment promotion agency, Locate in Kent (LiK). She also helped to run Kent Developers Group and LiK's corporate partnership scheme. Her primary role was broad reaching and involved not only promoting Kent as a business location, but also Locate in Kent and its various services. Her job included delivering a wealth of market research, management information and business intelligence - including property research.

One of Mandy's projects in 1992/3 was to manage the

first visit by the Tour de France to the UK. This took three years in the planning and involved absorbing and incorporating new legislation, liaising with the Police, Fire and Ambulance services, Kent County Council and three district councils. In addition, she had to carefully negotiate the requirements and nuances of the Société Tour de France. This, Mandy says, put other projects into perspective.

Experience in building and working within partnerships – including public/private initiatives and in the (local) political arena – has helped hone her diplomatic and negotiating skills. Mandy played a major role in setting up both Visit Kent and Produced in Kent – two extremely successful partnerships.

Mandy said: "I am delighted at the prospect of a new challenge where I can put my experience to good use."

Caxtons is very happy to have Mandy and her many and diverse talents on the team.

Web image Mandy Bearne High Res Landscape
Mandy Bearne