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Foreign workers' hostel up for sale

PUBLISHED: 21:01 29 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:03 03 March 2010

PROPERTY belonging to a bankrupt businessman, who was using former nursing homes for foreign workers to live in, is likely to be sold.

Meanwhile, more details have emerged about the use of the buildings in Felixstowe and Trimley as hostels for low-paid workers recruited abroad and brought to Britain to work in factories.

PROPERTY belonging to a bankrupt businessman, who was using former nursing homes for foreign workers to live in, is likely to be sold.

Meanwhile, more details have emerged about the use of the buildings in Felixstowe and Trimley as hostels for low-paid workers recruited abroad and brought to Britain to work in factories.

Colourful and controversial character Larry Graham was announced as bankrupt by the High Court of Justice sitting in London last month.

He owned Seven Oaks, a former nursing home built as a vicarage in Church Lane, Trimley St Mary, and is understood to have been living in a flat at the top of the imposing building until recently.

But the 28-bedroom property has been empty since the High Court's judgement and is now likely to be sold to the highest offer.

Assistant official receiver in Ipswich, David Gibson said he could not comment on Mr Graham's case but in most instances property belonging to someone declared bankrupt would be sold to pay creditors.

This will be done by an insolvency practitioner appointed as trustee to oversee the disposal of the bankrupt's estate.

"There could be complications in a case if there is a spouse who has not been declared bankrupt and is a joint owner of a property, but in general terms property and investment is sold with the surplus going to the creditors," he said.

But residents will be waiting with bated breath to see what happens next and what the building might be used for – especially as the new owner will inherit the permission for hostel use.

Too big for a private house, it would be suitable for a number of uses, including office headquarters or conversion to upmarket apartments.

It was last used to house a large number of Portuguese workers, who were all subsequently left homeless and with little money.

The Evening Star understands that a bureau recruited the young workers in Portugal with the offer of accommodation and work at a chicken farm on the Norfolk-Suffolk border.

But after working horrendously long hours, and being made to pay for their transport by minibus to and from work, and bed and board, the workers were left with £10 a day "pocket money".

Many of them, confused and hurt by their experience, sought help from the authorities and it is understood some of them are still in the UK.

Mr Graham is also understood to have still been the owner of Sun Vale, Mill Lane, Felixstowe, which he closed as nursing home two years ago.

There was uproar when he used this recently as flats for single people with residents complaining about late-night noise, disturbances and unruly behaviour. He then submitted plans to use it as a hostel for workers with nursery facilities.

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