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Hostel owner declared bankrupt

PUBLISHED: 14:42 21 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:54 03 March 2010

MYSTERY today surrounds the future of a Trimley building being used as a hostel for foreign workers after its owner was declared bankrupt.

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

MYSTERY today surrounds the future of a Trimley building being used as a hostel for foreign workers after its owner was declared bankrupt.

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

The size of his debts are not known, and today a question marks hangs over the status of his property and what will happen to it.

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

Since closing the huge 28-bedroom property as a home in 1996, he has struggled to find a suitable use for it.

A project to turn it into a hostel for 50 foreign backpackers caused uproar after the centre opened without permission and the activities of some of the youngsters caused worries in the village.

He later gained permission for hostel use but then closed the project as suddenly as it had opened.

It was not Mr Graham's first run-in with the authorities. Earlier he had built a £28,000 conservatory on the listed building without permission – and was ordered to remove it.

Seven Oaks was also used as a guest house without permission, and also advertised as holiday accommodation for horses and riders.

More recently there were claims that the property – the largest in the village –had been turned into an unofficial refugee centre.

It was claimed that people from Russia and East Timor were paying hundreds of pounds a month to live at the former vicarage, while counter-claims suggested the occupants were European nationals working in the region.

Now villagers will be waiting to see what will be the next chapter in the building's chequered history.

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.

At one time he also owned Peacehaven, Felixstowe, a nursing home for 13 residents, and Graham House in Foxhall Road, Ipswich, which catered for 32 people. He said that closure of all his homes had been forced upon him by the growing numbers of government rules and regulations, which would have been uneconomic to have put in place.

Mr Graham, who at one time lived in a large detached house in Grange Road, Felixstowe, and then on a boat at Shotley, is also understood to have sold land for housing development at the rear of the Foxhall Road home.


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