Skip navigation

Indymedia UK is a network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues

Birmingham International Convention Centre Crest Nicholson Plc Protest

The Shalom Family Campaign for Justice | 20.09.2005 22:53 | Education | Health | Social Struggles | Birmingham

Identified only as an appropriate forum for discussion, all at the recent National Housing Federation’s (NHF) Annual Conference and Social Housing Exhibition 14-16th September 2005, were invited, by just one lone protestor, to discuss Crest Nicholson Plc and ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’.

Birmingham International Convention Centre Crest Nicholson Protest
Birmingham International Convention Centre Crest Nicholson Protest

The National Housing Federation Birmingham ICC
The National Housing Federation Birmingham ICC

The ICC Birmingham
The ICC Birmingham

Crest Nicholson Protestor the ICC Birmingham
Crest Nicholson Protestor the ICC Birmingham

Crest Nicholson Plc Carpet Corporate Social Responsibility
Crest Nicholson Plc Carpet Corporate Social Responsibility

Birmingham City Council
Birmingham City Council

Bank of Scotland (HBOS Crest Investor) Tanto Uberior So Much The More Plentiful!
Bank of Scotland (HBOS Crest Investor) Tanto Uberior So Much The More Plentiful!

Bank of Scotland A Clean Face Plate
Bank of Scotland A Clean Face Plate

Bank of Scotland Crest Investor and BITC Member via HBOS
Bank of Scotland Crest Investor and BITC Member via HBOS

The Birmingham International Convention Centre
The Birmingham International Convention Centre

The Shalom Family Campaign for Justice from Wales, wished to raise awareness both within the NHF membership and that of the general public, of the typical issues which have become apparent during the eradication of their perfectly safe and satisfactory Family Home and ‘way of life’ of 14 years. The Family Campaign for Justice requests a ‘Fair and Just’ solution from property developer Crest Nicholson Plc.

Crest Nicholson evicted the Family from their own houseboat and property, (more than 6 and a half years entrusted with Crest), after causing an accident to their dream home. Crest Nicholson Plc and their erstwhile marina company, Crest Nicholson Marinas Limited, (the division of the Crest Group which actually caused the accident) accepted that they caused the accident. However, the company in total, willfully prevented the family from fixing a leak to their vessel, which only developed subsequent to that event. By thwarting all efforts of the family to fix the leak at site, insurance for the boat could not be obtained by the Shaloms and the company then decided to refuse mooring fees, (on no less than three occasions), stating that the family were in ‘breach of contract’, for not having suitable insurance. Crest Nicholson subsequently prosecuted the Family via the Courts on the grounds of trespass for not paying mooring fees.

It is clearly emerging that during this particular eviction process many issues are coming to light, not least of which is the extreme corporate mindset behind Crest Nicholson. The Family insist that besides abusing their trust, and desecrating their way of life, Crest Nicholson have displayed utter contempt for traditional values of respect for Family, Home and Human Life. Cardiff born, Marie Shalom was eight months pregnant when Crest Nicholson ‘grounded’ their Family houseboat. Instead of receiving any form of an apology, the Family were invited to take their houseboat home and leave Penarth Marina and subsequently, Wales! The Shalom Family have also lost possession of their entire worldly goods which have since been seized during the eviction process.

Questions abound. Was this Crest Nicholson houseboat eviction, as campaigners maintain, just a ‘Corporate Beauty Show’? Was the eviction on the legal grounds of ‘trespass’ orchestrated to appear as though the Family had done wrong? The documented records between the Family and Crest Nicholson prove otherwise and it is known that John Callcutt Chief Executive Officer of Crest was a solicitor. He was solely responsible for enforcing health and safety throughout the Crest Nicholson Group, especially at the time of the accident suffered to the Shaloms’ houseboat. In any event, throughout the eviction process, campaigners believe that the Crest Nicholson public relations machine has successfully besmirched the good character and name of the Shalom Family in their local community?

To the NHF, its members and the general public, the peaceful one man protest at the Birmingham ICC, aided further discussion concerning the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility: - Whether it is ever morally acceptable for a corporate giant, such as Crest Nicholson Plc, to rely upon housing associations’, or local council’s housing stock, to effectively ‘clean up’ corporate mistakes?

In failing to expeditiously grant the Family permission to lift their houseboat at site, even at their own expense, (which subsequently created an unprecedented ‘catch 22’,.... leaking boat, nowhere else identified to take it for repairs, no insurance possible until it got repairs), did the company wilfully obstruct the Shaloms from effectively performing what the Shaloms accept, was their moral duty, to properly maintain, and thus be able to insure their home? Is this the measure of good moral Corporate Social Responsibility we should expect from Crest Nicholson?

John Callcutt only met the Family after yet another Crest caused accident, again undisputed, but this time suffered to their daughter Rebekah. Mr Callcutt then offered the couple an Ex-Gratia payment of £10,000 to ‘relocate’. The Shaloms were faced with a Crest Nicholson ultimatum. Take the money and their home and leave the Penarth marina, which was impossible, because of the ‘catch 22’ situation, or just take the money and leave their home behind for Crest Nicholson to sell? Any profits would be reimbursed to the Shaloms on sale, but for the Family to have taken this latter course of action would surely have meant that the Shaloms would have made themselves ‘intentionally’ homeless? Mr. Callcutt could clearly see that the Shaloms had no real choice in the situation but nevertheless expressed the sentiment that, “It’s not as if you won’t be re-housed!”

It is in no doubt that this Family with their five children were directly made homeless by Crest Nicholson, proud to boast of their existing three year sponsorship of ‘Shelter’, ironically, a national organisation supporting the homeless. Yet more recently, against the backdrop of the Shaloms’ continuing nightmare, Crest Nicholson have adopted the Variety Club Children's Charity, a charity helping sick, disabled and disadvantaged children for over fifty years.

John Callcutt, Crest Nicholson Chief Executive Officer, about to ‘retire’ from his position at the end of October 2005, has written to the Family openly admitting that his organisation were, “wrong” to have ever allowed the family to settle at the marina. It is also documented that despite his organisation inviting the Family, (at the time with two children, and one on the way), to reside in their Penarth Marina in Cardiff Bay, Wales, the Crest boss took six years, to tell the family that his organisations’ commercial marina was not a “safe” or “suitable” place for a family with young children, but this was only after the Crest Nicholson caused accidents.

Family appeals to Crest Plc Chairman John Matthews to look at this matter afresh appear to have fallen on ‘corporate-deaf’ ears. Despite the Family’s broken trust, the loss of their investment, their home of 14 years, their way of life and loss of possession of all their worldly goods, (including the 7 pet goldfish), Mr. Matthews has written to the Family stating, “ I have nothing to add to Crest Nicholson’s position. I wish you and your Family well.”

Crest Nicholson have admitted that the company has benefited from government support for mixed-use developments such as Park Central in Birmingham at Attwood Green where Crest is working in close partnership with Birmingham City Council.

As reported in the Guardian unlimited*, "Ethical house building is the future and we are the leader in the field," says Mr. Callcutt. Mr. Callcutt said he will meet police in Birmingham this year to secure commitments on appropriate policing for the new Park Central development. He stated, "We want to know how community safety will be dealt with as part of more general law and order issues. Secondly we will want to know what kind of policing levels we can expect,". Asked whether some might find it creepy that a building firm could make such demands on state agencies, he replied: "The Victorian view of heartless entrepreneurs is redundant. Companies need a new approach and I do not think of myself as creepy."

The Shalom Family Campaign for Justice specifically reiterates the points made to David Orr Chief Executive of NHF and made known before the start of the conference. The one man protest at the ICC was not directed at the National Housing Federation and/or its membership. The Family is very grateful to NHF for the mutually civilised approach, and accepting their right to protest with dignity and respect. Thanks are extended to all at the NHF Communications team. Likewise the Family is grateful to the ICC Birmingham, especially Mr. Richard Chivers and his security coordinators during the conference.

NHF represents 1400 independent, not for profit housing associations in England. Its members provide 2 million affordable homes for around 5 million people.

The conference was attended by David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, Jon Rouse, Chief Executive of the Housing Corporation, Rageh Omaar, broadcaster and former BBC News' Africa correspondent, John Bird, Founder of the Big Issue and David Miliband MP, Minister of Communities and Local Government, from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM).

The ODPM sponsors Business In The Community (BITC), a group who proclaim to proactively encourage their members to embed ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ into their ordinary working practice. Crest Nicholson are not yet accepted members of BITC, but it is difficult to see Crest Nicholson’s Corporate Social Responsibility in action in this eviction. However the company has taken part in the BITC ‘Companies That Count’ 2005 Corporate Responsibility Index, held in association with the Sunday Times. The index is a self-assessment programme in which companies carry out their own internal surveys, “that provides an annual benchmark of how companies manage, measure and report their impact on society” (Sunday Times page 8 April 3rd 2005). Crest Nicholson rank 88th of the published top 100.

The ‘impact’ on the lives of the Shalom Family cannot be understated, still waiting for even an acknowledgment from HRH Prince Charles, President of Business In The Community. The Family wrote to him in June 2005, just asking him to take an interest in their case for social justice.

BITC members who have also been invited to become aware of the Shalom Family - Crest Nicholson eviction are HBOS (Halifax & Bank of Scotland) and Lloyds TSB Bank. The Family believe that together with BITC, these companies should immediately revisit their Corporate Social Responsibility policies particularly in regard to their ethical investments and particularly their investments and associations with Crest Nicholson Plc.

As John Callcutt approaches his somewhat unexpected retirement at 58, city speculation suggests that Crest Plc is still being stalked by Gerald Ronson’s Heron International and Crest Nicholson Marinas Limited has since been sold off to a co-founded management buy-out team. Simon Haigh, former head of marina operations at Crest Nicholson Marinas Limited once described the Shalom Family home as, “a caravan”. With his co-founder Andrew Temple Yates, “We do not want to involve the children in all this”, they head up the new marina operating company, Quay Marinas Limited.


Joe Dumont
Media Officer
National Housing Federation
020 7067 1028
07990 638946

Simon Haigh and Andrew Yates at Quays Marinas
Quay Marinas Ltd
Avon House
Newbrick Road
Stoke Gifford
BS34 8RA
Tel 01179 236466
Fax 01179 236508

Email, or

*originating source Guardian Unlimited,14713,1399342,00.html#article_continue

Other news links articles:-
Protest at Centre Parcs Director John Matthews/ Chairman of both Crest Plc, Regus Plc, and director at Diploma plc, SDL plc and Rotork plc.

Family Petition HRH Prince Charles Business In The Community

Schroders London Boat Show Protest

Claridge’s Protest London

Crest Nicholson AGM Protest at the Runnymede Hotel and Spa Surrey

HBOS Protest National Boat Caravan and Out Show NEC Birmingham

Various Photo Story Board links:- Broadband advised for slide shows.

The Shalom Family Campaign for Justice
- e-mail:
- Homepage: