Author Topic: Save the British Embassy Bangkok  (Read 1922 times)

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Offline thaiga

Save the British Embassy Bangkok
« on: April 07, 2016, 01:43:04 PM »
Save the British Embassy Bangkok

The UK government is planning to sell off the iconic grounds of the British Embassy Bangkok on Wireless Road. The review is underway with a decision expected later this year. If you are a British expatriate or visiting tourist please sign this petition so we can save these historic grounds and not end up with a grubby faceless office handling our consular affairs.

The compound on Wireless Road is famous for its iconic buildings, including the ambassador’s historic residence, tropical gardens, huge trees and ponds, and a statue of Queen Victoria which had to be relocated when front section of the embassy was sold to the Central Group. This area is now occupied by Central Embassy. Many long-term British expatriates have recalled the numerous garden parties and events such as the Ploenchit Fair that were held in the embassy compound. Only last month it was the location of the British Chamber of Commerce’s highly successful Life & Style Garden Party. Queen Elizabeth visited the embassy on at least two occasions.

change.org
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Online Taman Tun

Re: Save the British Embassy Bangkok
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2016, 02:48:52 PM »
I really cannot think why it should be saved.  Britain is no longer a grand colonial power and does not need an extravagant embassy.  The place should be sold off and the money distributed to the UK expats in Thailand.  The embassy could be equally as well operated out of an office block and I am sure the ambassador could find adequate lodgings  in any of the Sukhumvit sois. 
We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out. Churchill
 
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Offline thaiga

Re: Save the British Embassy Bangkok
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2016, 07:04:33 PM »
Hi T/T  YES i think an office would make you feel more comfortable and do an efficient job.

It's like fort knox getting in the embassy, what have they got in there, last time i went there, you have to shout through a plate glass window, press your passport up against the glass, go through an iron door where your belongings will be taken off you, telephone ect.
Make you feel most unwelcome almost like your a nuisance,  although you pay the way over the top price for a very needed piece of paper.       

Sell it off and distribute the money to the EXPATS POSTERS ASSOCIATION where it could be used to bring back, Mastering the art of conversation on expat forums.  T/T what do you think about the underlined comment below  ;)

Apparently some of the land at the embassy was sold off a few years back. Here's bit more below from thebigchilli.

Ambassador says future of iconic building and grounds Is “under review” by the UK government.

NEWS that the UK government may sell off the rest of the British Embassy in Bangkok has been met with shock and anger by the local British community.

“This is an utter disgrace,” commented one British expatriate. “An insult to Thailand,” said another.

“We were outraged when the front of the embassy was sold off a few years back. That was bad enough. But now we are looking at the complete demolition of this wonderful compound. This is a real tragedy, and very, very sad,” fumed another Brit.
“The British government will be selling off Buckingham Palace next.”

Mr Kent, who ends his term as ambassador here this month, is reported to have said that it is not too late to save the embassy.

full article: thebigchilli.com
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 

Online Taman Tun

Re: Save the British Embassy Bangkok
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2016, 08:14:43 PM »
Thaiga, The underlined comment is not complete.  We should include Windsor Castle, Balmoral, Sandringham, Clarence House, Highgrove and many others!
We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out. Churchill
 

Offline thaiga

Re: Save the British Embassy Bangkok
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2016, 12:21:09 PM »
Don't sell yet - Wait till the pound goes up we'll get a better rate   :-[

Buying Rates      Selling Rates   bangkokbank

   48.66                     50.31       
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Offline thaiga

Re: Save the British Embassy Bangkok - selling off the family silver
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2016, 11:20:12 AM »
                   

Feb 2005 telegraph.co.uk   

Britain to sell off its prime acres in Thailand

The Bangkok embassy, which was bought in the 1920s, has now become too valuable to keep

To be sold: four acres of prime land in central Bangkok, currently occupied by one war memorial, some diplomatic buildings, and a historic flag pole. Estimated value: up to £30 million. Apply: HM Government, Whitehall.
The Foreign Office plans to place on the market one third of the British Embassy's grounds on a lush 12-acre compound in one of the most expensive districts of Bangkok.
Inside the grounds is a statue of Queen Victoria, "erected in loving memory by her subjects in Siam" in 1903. Many Thais regard Victoria as a fertility symbol and leave flower necklaces on the statue's plinth.

"This is priceless real estate and an asset hard-earned by the previous generation," he said. "The British Government is not so poor it needs the money. What next, a skyscraper on Horse Guards Parade overlooking Downing Street?"
When the land was bought it was on the outskirts of the city and surrounded by paddy fields. After 80 years of urban growth it now stands at the corner of two roads packed with luxury hotels, offices, apartments and shopping centres.

Consultants have been brought in to put a price on the most expensive section of the plot, fronting Ploenchit Road, where two small colonial-style apartment buildings stand amid gardens and outbuildings on either side of a war memorial and the driveway to the ambassador's plush residence.
Some of the money will be spent on a 24-apartment block to be built in another part of the compound, sacrificing a tennis court and one third of a pond, and the rest will go towards premises in other countries.

"In this day and age when we are talking about value for money it is under-utilised," said an embassy official.
"The plan is that it will happen when the market is favourable for the sale," he said, adding that it could be worth "£20 million upwards".

The war memorial will be moved elsewhere within the compound, as will the statue of Queen Victoria which would otherwise find itself facing the back wall of whatever is built on the land. Efforts will also be made to preserve a huge steel flagpole, specially imported from Hong Kong in the 1890s at a cost of £500 - earning the then vice-consul a reprimand for unnecessary extravagance. Tim Maplethorpe, the chief executive of Bangkokproperty.com, a consultancy and agency in the capital, described the sale as "a shame", but suggested that it could fetch even more than the official's estimate.
"It's a prime location in an expensive area and the buyers could put a lot of buildings on it," he said.
He "wouldn't be surprised" if it sold for around £4 million an acre.

Another plot nearby sold for about double that when an international hotel chain decided that it wanted it at almost any price.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: "The timing will depend on market conditions. When the time is right we will take the next step."
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Offline thaiga

Re: British consular office - bizarre requests from brits abroad
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2016, 04:54:39 PM »
The gov.uk. website in it's press release states that they have had some really bizarre requests from brits abroad.

One brit abroad was more desperate than most to enjoy a bacon sandwich - he rings the British consular office and asks where he could buy the meat. The homesick expat's phone call was among the most bizarre made by Britons in the past year, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office revealed.

bizarre requests from brits abroad   

The vast majority were from people with genuine requests and the FCO assisted with numerous cases, helping 3,250 Brits who were hospitalised, 4,770 who were arrested, and the families of 3,670 who died overseas. Almost 38,000 replacement travel documents were issued.

FCO staff are able to support Brits abroad in many ways – including arranging to visit Brits in hospital or in prison, advising on how to transfer money and helping those caught up in crisis situations. However, recent research* revealed that almost three quarters of Brits (74%) thought the FCO could get them out of jail if they were arrested, almost a quarter (22%) thought the FCO could arrange for them to get home if they lost their ticket and 15% presumed the FCO would lend them money if theirs was lost or stolen.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 

Offline thaiga

Re: Hands up – who would miss the British Embassy?
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2016, 03:29:23 PM »

It's like fort knox getting in the embassy, what have they got in there, last time i went there, you have to shout through a plate glass window, press your passport up against the glass, go through an iron door where your belongings will be taken off you, telephone ect.
Make you feel most unwelcome almost like your a nuisance,  although you pay the way over the top price for a very needed piece of paper.       

The article below from inspirepattaya.com. Confirms my earlier post about the BRITISH EMBASSY, that make you feel most unwelcome almost like your a nuisance,  although you pay the way over the top price for a very needed piece of paper.

Hands up – who would miss the British Embassy?

Some while back a story emerged that seemed to suggest that the British Embassy in Bangkok was to close. Close I thought?… for all intents and purposes hadn’t it done so already.

There might still be an ambassador around to go to Pimm’s parties and a skeleton staff to play tennis but they seemed to have farmed out all their visa work to agents leaving just a rubber stamp on someone’s desk next to an unfinished copy of the Daily Mail.

And we always hear stories of the consular section who are unaware of the cases of its citizens in dire trouble – like the one reported this week of the British man who used to live here who was up on drugs charges after being arrested on a bus in Sukhumvit. And where were they during the Hua Hin attack on the Owen family? If they got involved at all they certainly kept the lowest of the low diplomatic profiles.

When visas were actually processed at the embassy’s sprawling grounds in Wireless Road there used to be a perceived modicum of service. Even if it was processed according to speeds itemized in the British government’s “Guide for Snails’ Pace” and at rates per page of documents that were and still are exorbitant and nothing but fleecing. These were also rendered in baht at a mythical rate well in favor of the government and always out of date.

My first experience there was appalling. Crowded and mismanaged the staff ensconced behind their protective glass would shout at the top of their collective voices often belittling the customers whose duty it was for them to serve. The expats and the local staff were all of the same ilk. A visit to the British Embassy was to be dreaded and put off for as long as possible and if possible, completely avoided. Travelling across continents with young children in tow was but little compared to the trauma of a British embassy visit.

The first time I really had to deal with them was back in the early nineties when I needed to get my new wife a visa. After an extremely long wait of nearly two months we were eventually granted an interview. The woman on our case had a distinct German accent and her mission it seemed was to deny visas at all costs – rather in the vein of “keep ‘em out’ immigration officer Ian Foot (David Walliams) on British comedy Come Fly With Me.

She muttered to my wife in Thai – I pretended not to understand but sometimes I actually didn’t. Her Thai language was so appallingly incoherent and poorly structured. Galling to have this woman try to keep my wife out of the country that had given this officer a cushy home.

Some years later around 2000 an old boy behind the glass refused point blank to process the visas for my wife and two children even though this was the fourth or fifth time they had all visited the UK on Thai passports. I had given him a huge pile of papers and the nit-picking civil servant had found some T not crossed or I not dotted. Fortunately all was not lost on this occasion however. Seeing my dilemma a man behind the glass in the next booth who I thought I recognized started gesturing excitedly behind the old boy’s back. He was pointing at the car park behind me….

So I took back the papers grudgingly and went to the car park where I met the young man from the next booth who apologized profusely saying that the old git next to him was useless and only brought in because they were understaffed. The young man had recognized me as someone he had played football against in a Bangkok tournament and decided to help me. This he did getting all the required stamps within half an hour and handing them back to me in the car park. It was like something out of a spy drama in the Cold War and rather un-British!

Despite this great example of good and impromptu service it was always an ordeal to go anywhere near the British Embassy. In fact, every few months in the 1990s and beyond letters would pour in to a leading English language newspaper complaining once again. No wonder they farmed out their apology for a service when it came to visas. It was no real surprise to British Bangkok residents that they had decided to up sticks.

Many residents really only saw one good thing about the embassy. The fact that it always opened its grounds to the annual Ploenchit Fair. When this was stopped and the fair held at international schools subsequently because of security concerns there really did seem little point in the place continuing to operate at all.

And it will be no surprise to see the British Government soon cash in on the huge and valuable plot of land on the corner of Wireless and Ploenchit Roads. Maybe they will ultimately just decide to have a small office somewhere behind Nana.

Last year repeated advertisements appeared for Thai speakers to join the embassy’s consular section to help with Briton’s having trouble in the country. I wonder if that was just for show or if they really did hire people. With an average of almost one Briton dying in Thailand per day one would hope they have a decent team. Never mind all the mischief that Brits seem to have got themselves into recently. Hopefully the consular staff don’t just ignore cases of British drivers fleeing the scene, young men getting assaulted for trying to be clever dicks in Khao San or old men charged with kiddy fiddling in Chiang Mai. Or maybe they just choose not to become aware of this kind of “riff-raff” who might be in need of their assistance.

Yes, they don’t want to get their hands dirty with unsavory UK elements – but believe me, the feeling is mutual. If there is one very good reason for Britons to stay out of trouble in Thailand it is to avoid the small possibility of having anything to do with the British Embassy.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 
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Offline sowhat

Re: Save the British Embassy Bangkok
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2016, 12:37:32 AM »
Hands up who would miss the British Embassy

your right what you say / they don't think for a minute your paying their wages / shouting through the glass makes you look so stupid and all in earshot knows your business

they know what there doing and know they can get away with it / y / as you say they know you need that document / whatever
 

Offline thaiga

Re: Save the British Embassy Bangkok
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2016, 05:56:46 PM »
If the cap fits

Immigration Officer Ian Foot - Come Fly With Me - BBC One
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Offline thaiga

Re: UK embassy land sale put at B18bn
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2016, 02:20:16 PM »
UK embassy land sale put at B18bn

Land plots in bustling prime locations remain appealing, with the British embassy expected to shed its 23-rai property on Wireless Road for more than 18 billion baht.

According to sources in the property sector who asked not to be named, the embassy is sounding out developer interest through CBRE (Thailand), which was assigned as the sole agent for the plot.

"The embassy asked CBRE to survey whether we would be interested in buying the plot and what development it should likely be," one of the sources said.

A petition to Save the British Embassy Bangkok has popped up at Change.org, but has drawn little support.

The price of the plot, which serves as the embassy's head office, is estimated at more than 2 million baht a square wah. A nearby plot was bought last year for 1.91 million baht a sq w by SET-listed SC Asset Corporation Plc.

"At that price it's going to be a huge project development, which only large developers or those with overseas giant partners can do," another source said.

The latter source's company was among the large developers that sat down with CBRE last week to discuss the plot. A mixed-use development is the most feasible outcome for the plot because of its large size and land cost, the source said.

A decade ago the British embassy opened a bid for a land plot sized 9.5 rai on Phloenchit Road next to its current head office. The winner was Central Group of Companies with a price of 950,000 baht per sq w. The plot is currently situated by Central Embassy.

Prices for land in prime locations have risen continuously over the last 10 years, with the latest deal struck by SET-listed Ananda Development Plc, which broke the record for the highest price per sq w when it paid 2.1-2.2 million baht for a one-rai site on Rama IV Road near Sri Fueng Fung Building.

The plot was the former location of the Citystreet food court owned by Beauty Gems Group. Despite the small size of only one rai, it is feasible to develop a high-rise building with an automated parking system, which would save space instead of having a traditional car park.

A source from Singha Estate Plc, the SET-listed property arm of Boon Rawd Brewery Co, said it had heard about the report but the company was not invited to take part in last week's meeting.

A British embassy spokesman would not confirm or deny the report, saying only that the embassy keeps its diplomatic estate under review to ensure that it provides value for the British taxpayer and effectively represents British interests.

"We will continue to have a fit-for-purpose embassy that supports the UK's impact and influence in a leading Asean country which is a key partner for the UK in security and prosperity terms," he said.

Phanom Kanjanathiemthao, managing director of property consultant Knight Frank Chartered (Thailand), has said that despite the looming land and buildings tax, land prices in Bangkok's prime locations are expected to continue rising over the next year.

"The new tax is unlikely to be so high that landlords want to avoid paying it or sell their land," he said recently. "It is worth keeping the land as the price will appreciate in the future."

Meanwhile, Ananda Development issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon denying having bought the plot at a whopping 2.2 million baht per sq w.

CEO Chanond Ruangkritya said the company had no policy to buy expensive land plots as it had maintained its goal of developing projects that meet the requirements of customers.

He said the company had never manipulated land prices. As the purchasing power is weak, it would focus on developing projects at reasonable prices.

Bangkokpost

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Offline thaiga

Re: Save the British Embassy Bangkok - sold for 20 billion baht
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2017, 02:33:36 PM »
Central Group buys British Embassy land for 20 billion baht



Despite facing criticism for selling the land, the Central Group’s offer price was high enough for the Brits to sell off more of the prized parcel where the British Embassy sits in Phloen Chit.

Voice TV reported that Central Group, one of Thailand’s biggest family-owned conglomerates, won the land for a record-breaking bidding price of over THB20 billion for the 23-rai of land on Wireless Road, which sits at the center of the busy business district of Bangkok.

The price works out to THB2.2 million per square yard, the highest rate ever in Thai real estate trading.

Central Group has broken the same record before when they bought the first 9.5-rai from the British Embassy for THB900,000 per square yard. That piece of land is now the luxurious Central Embassy, which took its name from the British Embassy.

Prin Chirathivat, Executive Director of the Central Group, previously told Prachachat that CPN, the Group’s property development and mall management company, planned to put the group’s largest investment into the land. He revealed later that the plan is to turn it into a huge mixed-use property connected to Central Embassy.

A petition called “Save the British Embassy Bangkok” was launched in 2016. Richard Leitch, who started the petition, said that they didn’t want the historic land with its beautiful architecture and huge trees, to become a lifeless and faceless office building or shopping mall. The petition received little support, however.

The criticism over selling the land stems from reports that the parcel was reportedly gifted to the Brits by the late king in the 1920s so, therefore, the British should not be able to sell gifted land. However, others have said that the land was purchased fair and square by the British government. Either way, it’s a glorious old landmark in the city.

We are making inquiries to see if this sale means that the British Embassy has sold all of their land. If so, the colonial buildings that sit on the Ploen Chit parcel will likely be leveled to make way for commercial development while the Embassy would need to be relocated.

For those that haven’t had the chance to visit, the compound holds historic buildings, including the ambassador’s residence, tropical gardens, ponds and a statue of Queen Victoria. Queen Elizabeth has also visited the Embassy on at least two occasions.

coconuts.co
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