Three sites in Croydon Old Town that were to be offered for sale to developers, with combined guide prices totalling nearly £4million and including the long-established House of Reeves furniture store, were abruptly withdrawn from auction this morning.
Neither the auctioneers who had advertised the sale nor the people running the Reeves furniture store were able to offer any reason for the late change.
It was business as usual for Reeves brothers Graham and Trevor this morning, as they were taking phoned orders, supervising the delivery of thousands of pounds worth of beds, and organising staff recruitment advertisements.
The Reeves brothers are the fifth generation of their family to run the business that has been based in the area since 1867. They were non-plussed when asked about the reasons for the 11th-hour withdrawal from the multi-million-pound auction of the building that houses their business.
“We’ve been left completely in the dark,” Trevor Reeves told Inside Croydon.
“It should just be a matter for the directors and the shareholders of the company. But we’ve been told nothing,” Reeves said.
The Reeves business and the Whitgift Foundation, co-owners of one of the plots originally being offered for sale this morning, have been seeking planning permission for one of the sites for a decade, but have been thwarted by Croydon Council’s planners.
As Inside Croydon revealed exclusively earlier this week, Wandsworth-based Barney Estates had three separate Croydon plots on their auction catalogue:
- the House of Reeves building at 114-120 Church Street (guide price according to a full-page ad that was placed in the little-read Croydon Grauniad last week: £2.5million);
- the derelict site of the building that was burned to the ground in the Croydon riots in 2011 (0.07 acres, part-owned by the Whitgift Foundation; guide price: £1million);
- and residential and light industrial buildings round the back of the Sallie Army (guide price: £100,000).
All three were withdrawn this morning.
The derelict site in the middle of the roads and tram tracks is 40per cent owned by the Reeves family and 60per cent owned by the Whitgift Foundation. It was suggested that this would be the most likely to be sold, although the ambitious CGI of a mini-Shard building 100 metres tall, dubbed by the estate agents “The Icon Corner” as a come-on for property speculators, appears to overlook the realities of the planning process, and the proximity to the site of protected buildings such as Croydon Minster.
The derelict part of the site was offered for sale in 2021, evidently unsuccessfully.
Barney Estates’ own website has two separate listings for the property at 114-120 Church Street, one listed as commercial, one as residential, and lists two different prices: £2million and £2.25million respectively (both lower than the amount cited in the newspaper advertisement).
The House of Reeves company website states, “House of Reeves is still a family-owned furniture retailer, now in its fifth generation. There are no other companies in the area who are still run on a daily basis by the direct descendants of the original family and we are one of the few independent furniture retailers left in the south-east.
“Few will have missed the sight of our adjacent sister store being razed to the ground in the August 2011 riots.
“This highly publicised event has spurred us on, and we now have a fully refurbished surviving store, displaying a wide range of quality and affordable sofas, beds and furniture for the home.”
Trevor Reeves confirmed again today that business at the store is strong and continuing as usual, building towards the annual New Year’s sales period.