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Notice from GSP to all leaseholders regarding fire safety 1/11/20

Soho House Development Update 3 March 2020

Scope Property Services have been appointed by the client to complete the building envelope works, namely the render system, the glazing and the green roofs.

Status of each element below:

- Works to the render system has now commenced, but the weather since we took over the project in January has been against us. Hopefully as we enter spring, the weather will be kinder and enable us to push on in earnest.

- The glazing has been procured and is in the final stages of design, and manufacturing will commence shortly.

- There are still a few minor design issues with the roofs to be ironed out to ensure that the building achieves the highest possible Breeam rating.

- Whilst the envelope works are progressing, so is the design of the internal fit out. As sections of the building become watertight, then the fit out element can progress. The clients expectation is that the building will be ready for occupation at the end of July. Noticeboards are shortly to be installed to the hoardings, and project updates will be posted at regular intervals, to keep the local community updated with progress.


If you have any queries regarding this please do not hesitate to contact the office.


Kind regards


Serena Whedbee AIRPM

Property Manager

Graves Son & Pilcher

51 Old Steyne, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1HU

T:  01273 321123   DD: 01273 267210  
E:  [email protected] 
W:   Visit our new website!

Cleaning the back of the building and the above ground car park

Our ref: SW/MR/VAB
13th August 2019

All Residents The Van Alen 24/30 Marine Parade Brighton BN2 1WP

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: The Van Alen – Cleaning to rear elevation, car park and pathways.

We write to all Residents of the Van Alen to advise that various cleaning is taking place between 20-24th August as follows:

The external render to the rear is due to be cleaned by Sunshine Sussex on the 20th and 21st August 2019. Please be aware that there may be workmen at your window and we would also ask that you kindly keep your rear windows closed throughout the 20th and 21st August.

As they are carrying out the clean via a cherry picker, it is possible that there could be restricted access to the underground car park and Mews House parking at certain times during 21st August. We would therefore recommend that if you need to use your car that day, you move your vehicle from the premises before 8am. If your car is parked under the vent to the East Block, there is also a risk that residual water being used to clean the building could land on your car and make it dirty. In order to avoid this from happening, we would recommend that you organise alternative parking elsewhere.

Sunshine Sussex will also be returning on Friday 23 August to clean all windows to the rear following on from the render clean. Please therefore once again ensure your windows are closed for their visit.

PC Com will also be on site from 8am between 22-24 August to carry out various ground cleaning as follows: Cleaning of the paved area at the front of the building on 22nd August. Cleaning of the rear half of the above ground car park on 23rd August. Cleaning of the front half of the above ground car park including driveways, pathway plus stairs to underground car park on 24th August. This schedule may vary slightly depending on how much they get done each day.

In order to allow them unhindered access to clean the upper car park and driveways, no cars will be able to park at the rear of the above ground car park during 23 August, however you will be able to park in the visitor bays and no cars will be able to park in the Mews house driveways and visitor parking bays during 24th August.

If you have an above ground car parking space, please ensure you make alternative arrangements for these days. If you have an underground car park space that may be available during these days and you would be willing to allow one of the cars in the upper car park to use it then please let us know.

If you are expecting visitors on 23rd or 24th August then please inform them that visitor parking will not be available.

If you have any questions about the above work, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Yours Faithfully
Serena Whedbee For and on behalf of Graves Son & Pilcher LLP 

Newsletter November 2017


Just a reminder that The Van Alen AGM is Monday 20th November at 6pm in the West Pier Centre.

Reception toilet

The toilet behind the reception desk is having some minor repairs done to it and it will then be redecorated.

Door entry system

We are aware of problems with the door entry system. If yours does not work properly please let us know what the issues are by email or pass a note to the concierge. Our door entry system was made by Bitron Video and they withdrew from the UK some time ago meaning that spare parts are no longer available. Replacing our existing door entry system with a new like for like one, will be very costly and we are keen to understand what our current and future needs might be and what our options are. We will keep you informed.

CCTV and Hyperoptic

Hyperoptic have given The Van Alen a 100Mbps broadband line in reception, free of charge and free of ongoing costs.

Car parking

The original design for parking cars opposite the Mews Houses was just two places, parking parallel to the fence. It soon became clear that more parking space was needed and for many years now cars have parked nose in to the fence. This mostly works well but occasionally causes a problem and the time has come to paint some dotted lines on the car park to mark out the spaces.



Newsletter October 2017

Lights above entrance doors

The new lights above the entrance doors and at the side of the Camelford Street gates have turned out to be brighter than anticipated and we are working with our electrician to change them for something less dazzling.

Old mail boxes

We are keen to dispose of the old mail boxes. Please let us know of any local organisations who might like to have them. The numbers 1 to 38 are engraved on them.


The proposed date for the next AGM is Monday 20th November at 6pm in the West Pier Centre. Formal notification from GSP will follow.

TV signal

The BBC report that they have to do some essential engineering work on the Whitehawk Hill Transmitter, affecting viewers and listeners (including The Van Alen) between the 21st September and 12th October 2017 At some points during this work, they will need to shut down the transmitter. At these times you will have difficulty receiving TV services.

After the completion of the work, and particularly if you have lost channels, you should contact the Freeview Advice helpline on 0808 100 0288.

A small number of viewers may need to retune their Freeview TVs and digital boxes, to accommodate these technical changes. If you are not sure how to retune, visit or .


Many properties now link their CCTV system to the internet with suitable security and password protection and we are looking into the feasibility of making The Van Alen CCTV images remotely viewable by Graves Son and Pilcher and by members of The Van Alen Management Team.


Some of the bikes left in the car park have flat tyres and are rusty.  To maintain the high standard of the appearance of the Van Alen it will be necessary to remove them.  If they are not claimed they will be removed at the beginning of November.


Newsletter September 2017

Hyperoptic “full fibre” broadband

 Less than 2% of the UK has access to broadband, with the speed of 1Gb (1,000Mbps). Hyperoptic now offers this speed to every apartment and mews house in The Van Alen.

 Hyperoptic have installed fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) broadband, which avoids the need for copper wires that slow down other fibre delivery methods. The infrastructure direct to The Van Alen means that you’re guaranteed to get very close to the advertised speed that you pay for, so even the entry-level 20Mbps is fast.

Hyperoptic socket offer

 You can future proof your flat by getting a Hyperoptic socket installed, at no cost, without taking their broadband by going to . Enter BN2 1WP and your apartment or house number. You will see three headings, Broadband & Phone, Broadband Only, or Hyperoptic Socket Only. Fill in the details and Hyperoptic will arrange an engineer to call and fit the socket when they are next on-site.

Updated residents’ handbook

An updated version of the Residents’ Handbook will be distributed shortly.

 New chair in reception

An arm chair has been ordered and will be delivered shortly to go in reception.

Fire alarm

The smoke detectors in the communal areas of The Van Alen Building are reaching the end of their recommended working life and will be replaced in the next couple of weeks as part of the routine maintenance of the fire alarm system.

 Car park bollard lights

We have had some problems with the car park bollard lights recently and we have arranged for an electrician to investigate the cause.

Satellite signal

Some residents have been having problems with their satellite signal so our satellite maintenance company, South East Digital, have recently replaced part of the Satellite dish on the roof and have replaced the FM aerial together with the distribution amplifier in the basement. Hopefully, this will resolve the issue but if you are still experiencing problems please let us know.

 You can contact us by email [email protected]  or pass a note to the concierge Matt Steele.

 Newsletter May 2017

Hyperoptic fibre broadband - update

We are pleased to be able to let you know that we have made good progress with Hyperoptic and the high speed fibre is now in Camelford Street, right outside The Van Alen. In the coming days Hyperoptic will bring the fibre into The Van Alen and begin the process of running cables from their cabinet in the underground car park to the lobbies outside each flat.

 You don’t have to take up their service but the plan is to install the cables to all flats and mews houses at the same time so that in the future connecting to their service is easy.

Rear lobby door

The door between the rear of the building and reception has now been automated to match the three entrance doors that have already been automated.

Poor TV signals

We have had several reports of poor signals on Freeview and we are looking to replace the distribution  amplifier and repair some suspect cable connections on the roof. We hope this will improve Freeview reception in The Van Alen.

Electricity supply upgrade - update

We mentioned in the March Newsletter that the move from gas to all electric, which has already taken place in over 25% of flats, has the potential to overload the transformer and cables that supply The Van Alen.  The UK Power Networks substation which supplies The Van Alen and other properties, is located directly behind Mews House No 3 and is accessed via Madeira Place.

 We are exploring the best and least disruptive way to route the new cables from the substation to the electrical intake room under the ramp in the underground car park.

 The electricity upgrade project will be subject to a formal Section 20 consultation with all lessees at The Van Alen and you will be hearing from Graves Son and Pilcher shortly.


We have ordered new carpet for the three lift cars. The carpet used in the communal areas is no longer available so we are carpeting the lifts with the ribbed blue carpet which is already in place outside the lift doors on each floor.

We are also working to get the problematic lift call buttons replaced as quickly as 

Newsletter April 2017

Parcel bin lock

The lock on the parcel bin has been fiddly and somewhat problematic so we have fitted a hasp and staple together with a much more robust and easier to use external lock. The code remains the same 9000 and having entered the code you press the button on the bottom of the lock to open it. Please scramble the wheels when you close the lock.

Clothes and carpet moths

Infestations of clothes moths are a national problem and we have had reports of clothes moths in several  flats in The Van Alen in recent weeks. Clothes moths obtain their nutrition from the protein keratin, something which is present in natural fabrics and fibres such as hair, fur, wool, cotton, silk, carpeting, feathers and leather. Bearing this in mind, to avoid a moth infestation particular care should be taken when packing away clothing. If moth larvae have no substrate on which to feed, they are unlikely to survive.  

As the communal areas in The Van Alen Building have woollen carpet we are in the process of getting them treated for clothes moth by Sankeys Pest Control Hove Tel  0800 158 3885

Pheremone based clothes and carpet moth traps are available from Amazon.  These traps can help you see if you have an infestation. For more information please talk to Matt Steele.

Traffic lights

The traffic lights at either end of the underground car park entrance ramp have become unreliable and potentially dangerous. We have therefore decided to have them removed and a convex  mirror will be installed to help those entering and leaving the car park to do so safely.

Washing the exterior of The Van Alen

The washing of the outside of The Van Alen will begin on Tuesday 2nd May. We have been told that the work should only take 4 days to complete and that they will come early in the morning to carry out the works from the roadside, using a cherry picker.

Culinary herbs in the garden

Please help yourself to the culinary herbs, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Mint and Bay. The Sage are fresh plantings, one in the garden and one in the small bed, opposite 4 The Mews. We have three types of Mint: Chocolate mint, Apple mint (this is the one used for mint tea), which are in the garden and Common mint, which is in the bed alongside the disabled parking bay. There is a large Bay tree opposite 3 The Mews.

Newsletter February 2017

Contractor Information Notes

We have put together a set of notes to be given to all contractors working at The Van Alen and a copy of the notes is attached to this newsletter. We ask all residents to let Matt know, in advance, about any works you are planning.

 Bicycles at The Van Alen

A weatherproof cover has been installed over the bike rack at the North end of the underground car park and it is now available for use. Please use the rack and don’t leave bikes elsewhere on the estate.

 Dripping showers

If your shower is hard to turn off or drips it may need a new ceramic tap cartridge fitting. This is easy to do but there is a knack to getting the old one out. If your plumber is puzzled please contact Terrry Kinsella.

Service Charge

The service charge has remained unchanged for three years now and we are pleased to be able to report that it will remain unchanged for another year.

Parcel bin outside the main entrance

We have installed a parcel bin and letterbox by the main door. It is in the front left hand corner, near the New Madeira Hotel and under the key pad console. Parcels can be placed in the secure box by delivery drivers and the code to unlock the bottom access door, to get to the parcels, is 9000. Matt will check the bin each morning and move any parcels into reception. If you use the box please place any parcels in the box that are not yours on the reception desk. There is a bar code in the parcel flap that delivery drivers can scan in-lieu of a signature.  You may need to modify your “safe place “ information with your web suppliers.



Newsletter January 2017

Garden replanting

The artificial grass behind the parking spaces at the top of the car park is looking good, as are the cobbles around the lighting bollards. The clearing and replanting is really taking shape.

Hyperoptic fibre broadband

More flats have registered an interest with Hyperoptic and so it is beginning to look as though we might get full fibre broadband in The Van Alen after all. We will keep you posted on progress.

 Installation of new lighting bollard

The new additional car park bollard has now arrived. It matches the existing bollards and will be installedon the newly cleared left hand side, at the top of the car park, as you walk towards the garden area.

 Underground car park improvements

The bare concrete walls adjacent to block entrances have been decorated and it is our intention to similarly improve other areas of the car park. 

 Parcel bin outside the main entrance

 Seven day a week parcel delivery is becoming much more common and gaining access “out of hours” to reception to deliver a parcel is proving problematic. We are going to discretely install a parcel bin and letterbox in the front left hand corner, near the New Madeira Hotel and under the key pad console. Parcels can be placed in the secure box by delivery drivers and flat owners will be given the code to unlock the access door to get to the parcels. Matt will check the bin each morning and move any parcels into reception.


We are planning to replace the carpet in each of the lifts and we are talking to Kone and others about upgrading the call buttons.


Newsletter December 2016

Alterations to window and doors

The Van Alen is in the East Cliff Conservation Area which means that all proposed changes to the elevations of a building require planning permission. BHCC have confirmed that any changes to windows or doors in The Van Alen require planning permission.

 I refer to your recent email regarding alterations to the fenestration and doors on the Van Alen Building.  I can confirm that any external alterations would require planning permission.

 Nicola Hurley

Planning Manager Applications

Brighton & Hove City Council

New post boxes changeover date

The changeover date for the new post boxes is Monday 12th December and instructions are posted at reception and in each lobby and on

Plumbing checks

The plumber, Jamie, has now inspected over half the flats and houses.  No major problems have been found but two flats had water running down back of toilet which wastes a lot of water (and electricity, as all our water is pumped from tanks in the basement) at a cost to all service charge payers. It is important to know where your stop cock is and it is good practice to turn the water off if away for a few days or more.

Estate improvements

We are improving the appearance of the Estate by washing off the green algae from previously decorated areas and painting the bare concrete walls adjacent to the entrances to the blocks, from the underground car park .

Automation of rear lobby door

The door between the rear of the building and reception will be automated early in the New Year. It will match the three doors already automated.

Garden replanting is progressing well

At the top of the car park we have planted twenty Hebe (Sutherlandii) and a large quantity of traditional daffodils planted in groups. The bed behind the parking spaces at the top of the car park is to have a strip of artificial grass, to allow easy access to the cars, with ground cover through cobbles. As requested by the residents of the mews houses the bed opposite to the houses will be planted with three Agapanthus (Big Blue), three Miscanthus (Silver Feather) two Palms to match the existing one and two evergreen honeysuckles. There is to be no ground cover planting, just cobbles in this bed.

Contact Us

You can contact us by email [email protected] or pass a note to the concierge Matt Steele

Newsletter - November 2016

Water Damage Insurance Claims

At The Van Alen AGM on Friday 4 November it was agreed that from 1 December 2016 there will be a £500 excess applied to any claim arising from water damage attributable to a water leak occurring within the property. Currently there will be no excess payable for water damage to a property where the cause was in an adjacent property. A detailed letter will be sent out shortly by GSP.

Car Park Bollard Lights

We have fitted an astronomical time switch to the electrical circuit that controls the car park bollard lights. This time switch automatically adjusts the on-off time to compensate for changes in day length and does not require manual adjustment.

Cleaning the outside of The Van Alen

We have been experimenting with cleaning the external walls of The Van Alen rather than repainting them and we are planning to contract a firm called “Mr Cherry Picker” to gently pressure wash the outside of the building. As the name suggests it will be done from a cherry

picker, not scaffolding as in the photo below. . The cost of cleaning is less than half of what the scaffolding alone costs for repainting. We will keep you posted on plans and dates.

 New Post Boxes

The new post boxes have been installed in the entrance to each block.  There will be a process to hand back your old keys and get new keys as the new boxes are brought into use.

Power Cuts

In the case of a power cut that affects more than just your flat, please contact UK Power Networks  0800 316 3105 or 0333 323 2105 (from a mobile) or


Consultations are taking place about the planting in the above ground car park edges which have been cleared. Please let us have your thoughts.

Contact Us

You can contact us by email [email protected] or pass a note to the concierge Matt Steele


Newsletter – October 2016

AGM 4th November 2016

The Van Alen AGM will be held at 6pm on 4 November in the Royal Albion Hotel. For the first time we will hold just one meeting to include both The Van Alen Freehold Ltd and The Van Alen Management Ltd. Lots to talk about so please do join us.

 Lift protection curtains

All three lifts have had hooks fitted and we now have a set of lift protection curtains.  If you are proposing to use one of the lifts to move furniture or building materials or to do anything else that might damage the lift then please ask Matt Steele, the concierge, to install the protection curtains.

Matt’s mobile number is 07806 785696

 Plumbing inspections

 In an effort to minimise insurance claims for water damage The Van Alen Management Company Ltd have contracted with Jamie Shefford to carry out plumbing inspections of all flats and mews houses. The plan is to arrange for Jamie to gain access to five flats/houses on each of his visits. The cost will be covered by the service charge.

 Automatic entrance doors

If you need to hold the automatic doors open please press the green emergency button and the doors will move to the open position and stay there. Please then put the reset key into the bottom of the green box to reset the doors.

 Hyperoptic fibre broadband

 The Hyperoptic Company have now surveyed The Van Alen with a view to installing an optical fibre broadband connection to every flat and mews house. Unfortunately they have decided that there may not be sufficient take up of their service to warrant them providing their cabling for free and have requested £4100 (£100 per flat) to provide their service. For the moment we will not be pursuing this option.

Window cleaning

 Getting a window cleaner to visit for just one flat is a problem but if several flats join together it will be easier to get a window cleaner to visit on a regular basis

If you would like to join a group to arrange an appointed day of the week to get your windows cleaned then please  contact. Audrey Simpson Flat 37  [email protected]

 You can contact us by email [email protected] or pass a note to the concierge Matt Steele


Newsletter – September 2016

Automatic entrance doors

The finishing touches have been made to the automatic entrance doors in the middle block and work is now complete to automate the entrance doors on the two other blocks. Consideration is being given to also automate the door from the car park into the lobby behind reception.


Work will shortly get underway to install new mailboxes for the flats in the three entrance lobbies. Once installed new keys will be issued and the existing mailboxes will be removed from reception and the area will be redecorated.

Garden and above ground car park  

Work is underway to cut back the hedges and foliage in the above ground car park to make manoeuvring easier and to clear the areas around the lighting bollards


All the bollards in the above ground car park have been converted to LED and the bollard stems have been painted gloss black.

The bollards are currently controlled by a time switch which needs frequent adjusting to match day length so we are looking at the possibility of replacing the time switch with a dusk to dawn photo cell switch.

Hyperoptic full fibre broadband

The Hyperoptic company are surveying The Van Alen with a view to installing an optical fibre broadband connection to every flat. Hyperoptic offer the fastest broadband in the UK and have already wired up many properties in London and Sussex Heights in Brighton. They get excellent reviews from people who have their service. While their installation engineers are on site and if you express interest in their offering they will install, free of charge or commitment, a Hyperoptic socket in your flat. This is an excellent futureproofing opportunity.  For more information please visit or call 0333 332 1111


Balcony Light Fittings

We have a small stock of replacement oval and round balcony light fittings - please ask Matt for details.


AGM 4th November 2016

The next AGM will be held at 6pm on 4 November in the Royal Albion Hotel. For the first time we will hold just one meeting to include both The Van Alen Freehold Ltd and The Van Alen Management Ltd.


Lots to talk about so please do join us.

To keep up to date please see the “News Page” on

You can contact us by email [email protected] or pass a note to the concierge Matt Steele


NewsletterApril 2016

Car Park lighting Bollards

The first experimental upgrade of one of the car park bollards to LED has taken place\and is deemed to be a success. An order has been placed for LED upgrade units for the rest of the bollards.

Communal Entrance Door Automation

Contractors have been instructed to automate the main ground floor entrance doors to Block 23-37 and the work should start this week. The intention is that the automation will be carried our on one set of doors as a trial and if considered successful, similar automation will be carried out on the ground floor communal entrance doors to Blocks 1-11 and 12-22.

The automated doors will operate using the fobs currently in use to access the building and to exit the block there will be a push button release inside. The doors will be provided with a battery back up so they will still operate in a power cut.

The entrance doors to the middle block have now been automated

New furniture in the garden June 2016

We are in discussion with a company called Hyperoptic with a view to them providing a high speed fibre to the flat broadband service in The Van Alen.  You can see some information below and their website is

Sussex Heights in Brighton has been was wired for Hyperotic earlier this year (2016) and Aram Papikyan a director of Sussex Heights sent this positive message:

 "I can confirm that our building was connected to Hyperoptic fibre network about 3 months ago and many residents took up their services. We have not heard about any problems with Hyperoptic so far and can definitely recommend them for any block of flats.

Best regards,

Aram Papikyan
Sussex Heights (Brighton) Limited

The Whitehouse, a block of flats in London, has also recently been wired by Hyperoptic and this is an extract from a message from the Whitehouse Residents Association

"As you probably know, the Whitehouse is one of the few UK developments to have a fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) broadband connection. This means we have access to the UK’s fastest broadband via Hyperoptic Ltd who provide download speeds of 20Mb, 100Mb and 1Gb (1000Mb) which is the fastest in the UK. All include unlimited downloads.


Hyperoptic will call you within 2 days to arrange installation at a time that suits you. There is a 30 day satisfaction window where no cancellation fees apply. We have been impressed with the service. The only point I would draw to your attention is to chose carefully where you want them to install the router. Unless you tell them otherwise, they will install it by your front door which is rarely the best place for it. "


9th July 2016

The Communal Entrance Doors -update

The doors on the middle block have been automated and seem to be working well. The communal entrance doors to the other two blocks will be automated in the near future.

Car park lighting bollards - update

The LED upgrade kits for the bollards have now been delivered and will be installed in the near future.