Snagging issues blamed for delay to Banbury’s new affordable homes

Houses on the Woodgreen Build still require roof tiles but are scheduled to be ready this month NNL-170717-165502001
Houses on the Woodgreen Build still require roof tiles but are scheduled to be ready this month NNL-170717-165502001
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After months of inactivity and weeks of questioning the BG has finally received some answers regarding the Woodgreen Avenue Build! affordable houses.

Work on the homes, on Spring Gardens and Spring Walk, began in early 2016 but, near completion, activity at the site seemed to cease months ago. CDC said the ‘weeks’ delay was due to ‘procurement regulations’.

Several more weeks passed with no visible work on site so the BG contacted CDC again.

On June 20, CDC replied, saying: “There was a delay of several weeks between Keepmoat completing the shells and their being awarded the contract to fit-out the properties. This delay was to allow negotiations to be concluded in accordance the council’s procurement regulations.

“Site progress has been and will be monitored on a regular basis, until practical completion, which is expected by early July.”

Keepmoat Regeneration, the sole contractors responded, saying: “There was a delay between Keepmoat Regeneration completing the shells on Woodgreen Avenue i and being awarded the contract to fit-out the properties.

“This delay was to allow negotiations to be concluded in accordance with CDC’s procurement regulations.”

Informatin on the progress of the build was also thin on the ground for residents and councillors in the area.

Sean Woodcock, Cherwell District Councillor for the ward and leader of the Labour opposition party within CDC, said: “As a ward councillor let alone opposition leader I feel that I have not been kept anywhere near as informed as I might have been.”

After further questioning the BG this week learned that the delay was, in fact, due to a dispute over the finishing standards of the buildings.

CDC said in a statement: “It would be inaccurate to state that the properties have remained ‘dormant for months’ as contractors have remained present on site throughout.

“The delay in the council taking receipt/ ownership of the properties was at the request of CDC who did not feel the finish had been completed to the previously agreed standards.”

Keepmoat dispute this saying the delays were down to snagging issues that they were asked to complete by CDC that went beyond the agreed build specifications and they completed as a good will gesture.

They also pionted out that this was a unique build as flooring and showers will have to be installed by the new occupants and there are no British building standards that set clear parameters within which this type of build has to meet.

Keepmoat has now signed over half of the homes to CDC and claims its building work on them has been completed, although it appears over half of the homes do not have roof tiles.

In an added twist, and within hours of finally getting some response from the parties involved, CDC released another statement.

It read: “As part of its award-winning Build! project, Cherwell District Council has now taken ownership of the first of 18 homes at Spring Gardens and Spring Walk in Banbury.

“The site comprises a selection of newly-built two and three bedroom properties which will be available to purchase on a shared ownership basis. Each property has been painted and fitted with a new kitchen and bathroom but will require flooring, a shower and a screen to be installed along with white goods.

“The homes are available on a shared ownership basis, with prices in the region of £141,000 for a 65 per cent share. Rent will be paid on the outstanding percentage, with the option for residents to purchase more of the house over time as part of the ‘staircasing process’.

It adds: “The properties are being marketed through the Help to Buy scheme. Applicants will need to have a total household income of less than £80,000. To express an interest, prospective buyers need to register an interest on the Help to Buy website at www.helptobuysouth.co.uk

More details about the site is available by emailing: build@cherwell-dc.gov.uk

No move in date was specified.