SJ Capital Group’s Response to an article published in the City Press on Sunday, 15 August 2021 titled
"High Risk Land Investment leaves angry SA Investors out of pocket"
In response to the article, SJ Capital would like to make the following statements:
- The statement that SA investors are out of pocket suggests that these investors have lost their money. This is sensationalist, misleading and completely untrue. All Strategic Land Investments returns are realised upon completion of the planning process and the subsequent sale of the allocated site thereafter. Whilst our Datchet site has experienced delays in the planning process beyond the control of the planners, as confirmed in the article this process is in its final stages but is not yet complete. To therefore suggest that investors have lost their money in an investment that has yet to run its course is misleading and false. Furthermore, none of our investors are locked into any of our Strategic Land Investments and exit strategies are available for those that wish to explore them.
- Given that all the investors referred to in the article requested anonymity from the writer, it is impossible to comment on the specifics of what they were or were not informed of at the time of investing. However, the sites position within the greenbelt and that flood alleviation assessments were carried out was made very clear in all marketing material. To state that the greenbelt status and flood risk are risks that would prevent successful planning is a drastic oversimplification and inaccurate reflection of the situation. As an example, the vast majority of green land in RBWM is designated as greenbelt yet sites have historically been released from the greenbelt or earmarked for release for development. This fact was made clear to the writer but omitted from the article.
- There are risks with all investments and the speculative nature and risks associated with Strategic Land Investments are made very clear to all investors prior to investing with us. These risks are not buried in fine print as mentioned in the article but are clearly stated in our agreements with recommendations to seek independent legal advice. Before any investment can proceed, investors are required to confirm or deny whether this advice has been sought and that they acknowledge and understand the risks associated with the investment.
- Again, given the anonymity of the investor complaining about New Addington, it is difficult to comment on this specific statement. However, to say that New Addington will never receive planning permission is not correct. Whilst we acknowledge that New Addington has experienced challenges which have been made very clear to all investors, we continue to drive the planning process at our own cost and have a significant retained stake within the site. These are not actions we would carry out if we believed the site would not successfully achieve planning.
In closing, whilst we appreciate that some investors are frustrated by the delay in planning in our Datchet site, frustrations that we share as we have a retained beneficial stake within the site, these delays are beyond our control, and this is not indicative of the planning process having failed. Indeed, even if the site is excluded, this does not mark the end of the process and all appeal routes etc will be explored, something we have successfully pursued in the past with our Greenhithe site that was subsequently approved and investors returns realised, something that was also omitted from the final article.