The six houses and ten flats on Site D are the first to have been completed and are now fully occupied. The new homes are built and equipped to the highest standards and include the first four bedroom houses to be built on Ockford Ridge. They are also energy efficient, so tenants will save on their heating, hot water and electricity bills.
Building work on the 36 new homes began in Spring 2019, with delivery of new homes from Phase 1 originally scheduled to take place in Spring 2020.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, we have been liaising with our build contractor at Site A, Thakeham Client Limited, who have made the safety of their staff and the wider community their top priority. They have strictly adhered to Government guidelines on social distancing and gone even further by adopting their own additional measures.
Following closure of the site on 30 March 2020, Thakeham began working to ensure a safe return to the site could be made. On Tuesday 14 April, the site was re-opened to undertake essential safety works and to bring the first phase properties closer to completion. Roadworks on Whitebeam Way and the public footpath in front of the site have also been completed.
Demolition tenders have been returned (for both Sites B and C) and evaluation is almost complete with a preferred contractor identified. Once council approval is obtained, discussions will commence with the contractor to agree the safest means of operating the two sites.
At this stage, it is not clear how compliance with safe working distances etc by utility companies and their sub-contractors, and for the archaeological and ecological investigations will impact on the demolition programme and timescales.
Tender returns for the main building contractor for Site B have been received and evaluation is underway. The current restrictions on working and impacts on the council’s internal operations and procedures are likely to affect work starting on site. We are therefore planning for a start on site before the end of the year, but we are mindful that there is considerable potential for a delay until 2021.
Due to more stringent Government regulations on energy efficiency that we expect to be introduced in the near future – and in recognition of the council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency, we have revisited our plans for the homes on Site C. As a result, their design has been improved to make them even more energy efficient.
We have also started the drafting tender documents for selection of a build contractor for this site. Our original intention was to begin short-listing in July 2020, with tenders returned and identification of a preferred contractor before the end of the year and works commencing in early 2021.
However, as with all building matters on the estate, it is no longer possible to predict with any certainty, but a start before the end of 2021 is hoped for.