Peo­ple ‘cry­ing out’ for new homes while site sits idle

Coun­cil­lor raises ques­tions over stalled af­ford­able hous­ing de­vel­op­ment in Hayes

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­

A COUN­CIL­LOR is call­ing for de­vel­op­ers to take ac­tion, af­ter hear­ing res­i­dents’ tear­ful pleas for help find­ing some­where to live.

Coun­cil­lor Janet Gard­ner, who rep­re­sents Botwell ward in Hayes for Labour, is “dis­gusted and sad­dened” that a half-con­structed af­ford­able hous­ing de­vel­op­ment has lain dor­mant for months whilst so many peo­ple in the town need a place to live.

Wood­lands So­cial Hous­ing, the con­trac­tors orig­i­nally re­spon­si­ble for de­vel­op­ing the block on 20 Blythe Road went into ad­min­is­tra­tion in June last year.

The site, which will cre­ate 120 flats, 97 of which will be af­ford­able hous­ing, then changed hands to Paradigm Hous­ing – but no work has been car­ried out since, leav­ing the con­structed shell un­touched for months.

Cllr Gard­ner said: “You would have thought that some­where out there would be a build­ing com­pany happy for the work.

“We have many res­i­dents in the area who are liv­ing in tem­po­rary, or to­tally in­ad­e­quate hous­ing, and we have a site just sit­ting there cry­ing out to be de­vel­oped into hous­ing.

“The site has been de­serted for over six months while we have res­i­dents des­per­ate for some­where de­cent to live – what are we, as coun­cil­lors, meant to say when we have res­i­dents cry­ing at our surgery plead­ing with us to help them get some­where to live?”

Cllr Gard­ner added: “It may only be bricks and mor­tar to some peo­ple, but to those with­out a de­cent place to live, it’s a chance to have a com­fort­able home.”

David Brough, chair­man of the Hayes Town Part­ner­ship, thinks the site in it’s cur­rent con­di­tion begs the ques­tion of “why is it so long com­ing?”

He said: “Work on the hous­ing site op­po­site Hayes and Har­ling­ton sta­tion stopped in June last year when the build­ing con­trac­tors went bust.

“What con­cerns me, is that nearly nine months have passed and the des­per­ate short­age of hous­ing con­tin­ues un­abated while this site stands idle.”

Paradigm Hous­ing has re­sponded to the pleas for work to be­gin, and say work will start on the site “as soon as pos­si­ble”, blam­ing strict EU reg­u­la­tions for the de­lay.

An­drew Main, Paradigm’s di­rec­tor of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment, said: “Fund­ing is in place for the de­vel­op­ment of 120 new homes at Blythe Road.

“Un­for­tu­nately the orig­i­nal con­trac­tor has gone bank­rupt so work on the site has tem­po­rar­ily stopped while we ap­point an­other.

“We’re acutely aware of the need for more af­ford­able homes in the re­gion so do­ing our best to en­sure work at Blythe Road starts again as soon as pos­si­ble.

“We have to fol­low strict EU reg­u­la­tions when ap­point­ing con­trac­tors, which can be time con­sum­ing, how­ever we ex­pect things to get mov­ing again within the next two months.”

n DE­LAYS: The de­vel­op­ment site on Blyth Road in Hayes

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