From the HCLT Trustees:
You will not be surprised to know that the West End Gardens development site was shut down, like most other sites in the country, for safety reasons for a few weeks. With government restrictions now being eased slightly work has now recommenced on the site. In the interests of safety this is a gradual process with strict adherence to the health and safety advice given to construction sites by the government.
Our developer Palace Green Homes (PGH) is also expecting a major downturn of the economy and this will mean it will take longer to sell the open market houses on the site in the period they envisaged. It is important to understand that the affordable houses that HCLT are purchasing are being subsidised by the sale of these same open market houses.
The bottom line is that our first house will now be delivered in Feb 2021. In addition the other 18 houses will then be delivered over a period of 21 months finishing in Dec 2022. The original plan to which we were working only a few weeks ago had our first houses arriving in Aug 2020 and the final house in Aug 2021. PGH have emphasised that this is their worst case and are hoping to do better than this.
This is of course a major blow to HCLT and the villages of Haddenham & Aldreth who were supporting us in this venture. We were looking forward to welcoming our first tenants in our first house this August. We were well advanced in preparing a short list of applicants to whom we were going to offer a tenancy in the next few weeks. Clearly these offers cannot now be made so soon and we are contacting all our applicants to advise them of this delay and what will happen next.
A lot of work has been undertaken by HCLT in the last few months behind the scenes and, fortunately, none of this work has been wasted. The trustees assure you they are just as committed to this project as they were before this unexpected and unfortunate delay. If you are interested in becoming an HCLT trustee please do come forward. Many of the existing trustees have now been onboard for many years and as HCLT enters a new era of home management new blood and new skills will be required.