No lift to upper floors at new Calpe House in London

Patients staying at the new Calpe House in London, which cost the Government over £13 million, have been complaining about the lack of lift access to the upper floors, which can be an obvious hindr


It is said that access to the two upper floors is by staircase, which is quite demanding to people with certain illnesses as they are not able to cope with negotiating, on a regular basis, the extra effort needed to reach allocated rooms.

It is understand the problem of installing the three-floor lift system in a five floor building primarily opened for the exclusive use of sick and infirmed people waiting to receive specialist treatment was known at the time of purchasing the building because planning permission was apparently refused for lift to reach the two upper floors...SO WHY PURCHASE THE BULDING IN THE FIRST PLACE? That is the question being asked.

It is also understood that the response time for emergency help in the event that some are stranded in the lift is 4 hours. Only last week, there was an incident where a couple of people were stuck in the lift, though luckily they did not remain in the lift more than 30 minutes - which is bad enough, anyway.

Of course, nobody is questioning the concept and usefulness of Calpe House, as it is seen as a worthy institution; but that is one thing, it is something else the sham that has evolved with the purchase of those new buildings.

Quite rightly, people are concerned about the many problems the new buildings have encountered.

As the Charity Commision says: “Public trust and confidence in charities is reliant on transparency and integrity, especially when it comes to financial accounts.”

The Commission adds: “This is a reminder to charity trustees that submitting accounting information to the Commission is a LEGAL REQUIREMENT and a failure to do so can lead to serious repercussions, like being removed as a registered charity...”

That is exactly what happened to Calpe House charity, that due to its non-compliance with legal requirements, repeatedly sending financial accounts late over FIVE YEARS, they were removed as a registered charity giving the charity, and Gibraltar by extension, a bad name.

No one can belittle the importance of what has been happening with those new buildings since acquired, which the Calpe House Trust knowingly purchased in a dilapidated state, as Mr Poggio said in a letter dated 5 Ocober 2015 where he wrote, inter alia, that “the three properties have been vacant for some time and are in a poor state of repair. Nos.21-23 have been vacant since 2012 and No.19 has been vacant since early 2015.”


Such decision cost the Government £8.5 million in purchase price and more than half that in refurbishing them, making a grand total in excess of £13 million.

That was public money. So, when a new pronblem emerges, there are people who start asking questions.

For example, they recall that asbestos was not spotted before purchase. This is what the Calpe House architect in London said in a letter dated 13 October 2016: “Following construction on the site, there has been a discovery of an EXTENSIVE amount of asbestos in the floor voids...requiring the complete removal of all existing floorboards to Nos.19 and 21.”

So it cannot be denied that there was a series of mistakes that should not have occurred.

It is recalled that a Report from those responsible for the Calpe House said: “All proceeds received in respect of the current appeal, which started in December 2015, are held by the Friends of Calpe House.”

In the accounts for the year ending 31 March 2016, their own auditors say: “The income received by the charity consists of cash donations, membership subscriptions and other income amounting to £20,543 OVER WHICH THERE IS NO SYSTEM OF CONTROL on which we could rely...There were no satisfactory audit procedures to confirm the accuracy of the completeness of the income received...”

So what went wrong went wrong, even if everybody recognises the good work done by Calpe House in the past...until the dilapidated, asbestos ridden new buildings were purchased at great public expense for reasons that remain unanswered.


Now, it transpires that the new Calpe House fails to have lifts to all the five floors, surely access to all floors by lifts must be seen as an essential and fundamental requirement, given the sick and infirm who make use of it.

So, why the haste in purchasing such a problem-ridden building at the time as if London lacked other adequate buildings?

There has been a series of problems in the past, now a new problem crops up. The public are entitled to be concerned and to ask questions about the millions of tax-payers’ money pumped into it.