Zoella Sugg buys £2m loft after using taxpayers to furlough staff

EXCLUSIVE: Revealed – Youtube star Zoella splashes £2m on modern loft in Brighton to turn into offices while claiming tax-payers’ money for furloughed assistant

  • Zoella – real name Zoe Sugg – has bought a property with her company AtoZ
  • She plans to turn the four-bedroom terraced property into an office space
  • News of the purchase comes after it emerged multi-millionaire vlogger claimed thousands of tax-payers’ money for furlough
  • Holly Macey earns £25,000 a year as Zoella’s ‘Girl-Friday’ organising parties, wrapping presents and walking her dog  

Multi-millionaire YouTube star Zoella has splashed out nearly £2m on a trendy ‘New York loft-style’ office – while claiming thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to pay her office manager.

MailOnline revealed last week that the highly successful vlogger – real name Zoe Sugg – was paying her £25,000-a-year ‘girl Friday’ Holly Macey from the government’s coronavirus furlough scheme, despite her business booming during lockdown.

Now her company has bought a £1.9m building in Brighton’s hip North Laine district and been given permission to convert part of it from residential to commercial use.

Since the pandemic tore through the economy, leaving thousands jobless, Sugg, 30, believed to be worth around £5m, has signed ‘mega-deals’ to promote BMW, GHD, Etsy and Spotify.   

Multi-millionaire YouTube star Zoella has splashed out nearly £2m on a trendy ‘New York loft-style’ office – while claiming thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to pay her office manager

Her company AtoZ has bought a £1.9m building in Brighton’s hip North Laine district and been given permission to convert part of it from residential to commercial use

In recent months Sugg, 30, believed to be worth around £5m, has signed ‘mega-deals’ to promote BMW, GHD, Etsy and Spotify. To cope with the expansion, she and her boyfriend, fellow vlogger Alfie Deyes, 27, decided to buy their own luxury premises to work from

According to estate agents’ details, the ‘New York Style’ property which was a four-bedroom house with commercial premises below, ‘takes its cue from the post-industrial chic look championed by the loft apartments of downtown New York

To cope with the expansion, Sugg and her boyfriend and business partner, fellow vlogger Alfie Deyes, 27, decided to buy their own luxury premises to work from.

News that Zoella used the furlough system to pay one of her staff prompted fury, leading one MP to label it ‘outrageous’. 

An insider told MailOnline: ‘The furlough scheme was set up for businesses who were really suffering during the pandemic, but hers is going from strength to strength, or so it seems.

‘She should pay the furlough money back.’

According to estate agents’ details, the ‘New York Style’ property which was a four-bedroom house with commercial premises below, ‘takes its cue from the post-industrial chic look championed by the loft apartments of downtown New York.’

Planning permission ‘change of use’ documents approved by Brighton & Hove City Council reveal Sugg’s plan to knock down virtually all interior walls on both upper floors to make the most of the light, airy space.

Oak floors on the 1,200 sq ft first floor complete the look, and, according to the details, the 900 sq ft second floor with its ‘raw white plaster walls’ feels ‘wonderfully Italian’.

Purchase of the freehold of the building will also give Sugg’s business, AtoZ Creatives, an income from the three commercial units on the ground floor, currently housing a restaurant and a tattoo studio.

David Toscano, owner of the Cin Cin restaurant, said: ‘The whole building was on the market for a while and we knew that it had sold as we received a letter to tell us our new landlord would be A to Z.

‘Unfortunately because of the lay-out of the restaurant we have not been able to open since St Patrick’s Day but we do want to continue at this location when we are able to.

Planning permission ‘change of use’ documents approved by Brighton & Hove City Council reveal Sugg’s plan to knock down virtually all interior walls on both upper floors to make the most of the light, airy space

Purchase of the freehold of the building will also give Sugg’s business, AtoZ Creatives, an income from the three commercial units on the ground floor, currently housing a restaurant and a tattoo studio

MailOnline revealed last week that Zoella was paying her £25,000-a-year ‘girl Friday’ Holly Macey from the government’s coronavirus furlough scheme, despite her business booming during the lockdown 

‘I don’t really know who Zoella is, we’re too old for vlogging but we would be happy to continue here.’ 

Residents nearby welcomed the change of ownership saying it might make the area quieter.

One neighbour said: ‘It could get quite rowdy at weekends as I think the upstairs of the building was being used as an Airbnb enterprise and we’d get hen parties making a din into the early hours.

‘There are quite a few young families here with children so if it is going to be quieter then that’s good news.

‘I’ve heard of Zoella. I know she’s an influencer and a vlogger but it’s all a bit young for me.’

Zoella’s most recent Companies House records in 2018 and 2019 show her various businesses in a financially healthy position with assets of well over £1.2m between them.  

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen criticised her decision to use the furlough scheme during the lockdown, saying it was designed for those in desperate need.

Leading crisis PR consultant Mark Borkowski agreed and said he was ‘astonished’ that Sugg’s PR team hadn’t suggested she should immediately pay back the state aid – likely to be between £10,000 and £15,000.

‘It would be a simple and sensible gesture to take the sting out of this will and the damage she will have done to her brand,’ he told MailOnline.

David Toscano, owner of the Cin Cin restaurant below, said : ‘The whole building was on the market for a while and we knew that it had sold as we received a letter to tell us our new landlord would be A to Z’

Residents nearby welcomed the change of ownership saying it might make the area quieter. One neighbour said: ‘It could get quite rowdy at weekends as I think the upstairs of the building was being used as an Airbnb enterprise and we’d get hen parties making a din’

Zoella’s most recent Companies House records in 2018 and 2019 show her various businesses in a financially healthy position with assets of well over £1.2m between them. She regularly promotes products online – for a fee 

‘People are really hurting out there and learning that she’s been taking taxpayers’ money won’t have pleased them. It goes against the values she’s built her social media empire on.

‘The kind of followers she has are notoriously fickle and easy to lose. The influencer game is like the Wild West – her fame has ebbed and flowed and there’s always another one coming down the line.’ 

There has been one small setback for Team Zoella this year: both Alfie and Zoe’s waxwork figures were removed from Madame Tussauds in January.

A spokeperson confirmed that the figures, originally put on display in 2015, were now in storage: ‘We constantly update what guests can expect to see at the attraction. The showbiz world is ever-changing and so are we.’

Last week Sugg’s manager, Maddie Chester told MailOnline the company used the furlough scheme because their office was closed. 

Asked about the purchase of the new premises, she said: ‘A company in which Zoe is a shareholder has bought a property in Vine Street.’

Source: Read Full Article