Squatters in Persimmon and Redrow homes that buyers can’t move into “because access road not completed”

“SQUATTERS have invaded brand new £300,000 houses after a legal ruling banned residents from moving into their own homes.

The luxury family homes, which have already been bought, are still unoccupied after a bitter row over an access road erupted. …

… Developers Persimmon and Redrow are jointly building 500 properties on the Yew Tree Hill estate, which is on the outskirts of Droitwich, Worcs.

But a dispute broke out last February between the companies and Wychavon District Council.

Planners had initially agreed for 188 finished homes to be occupied before an access road on the A38 leading to the estate was completed.

But the council became concerned the roadworks were not on track to be finished properly so it took the developers to court.

They then secured an injunction banning any more people from moving into the properties until the access road was widened.

Residents say no new homes have been built for months and the completed houses have become a haven for squatters.

‘THEY’VE LIED TO US’

Retired police officer Mark Naylor, 52, who moved into one of the first homes with wife Dawn, 51, in December 2017, said: “There has been crime on the estate with people breaking into unoccupied houses.

“Vans have turned up with people trying to break down fencing and get inside to try and take whatever they can.

“Homeless people are sleeping rough in the houses.

“I do feel sorry for people who have put down deposits but can’t move in.

“Persimmon are happy for the residents to just soldier on. They’ve lied to us.”

‘OVERRUN WITH SQUATTERS’

Another resident living in the finished side of the development added: “It’s a nightmare.

“The estate is being overrun with squatters and gangs targeting the empty houses.

“Sometimes at night you can hear them trying to snap the locks on the fences around the empty houses and sometimes the sound of glass breaking.”

The resident says “squatters and undesirables” have “exploited the window of opportunity created by the legal row”.

They added: “It must be torture knowing you’re dream home is being abused by squatters and rough sleepers while you’re powerless to do anything to stop it.

“It’s not right. The developers aren’t interested and the people who already live here and those waiting to move in have been hung out to dry.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/8209327/squatters-take-over-new-homes-droitwich-yew-tree-hill/

“Persimmon expects higher profits as help-to-buy props up prices”

“… Persimmon is one of the main beneficiaries of the taxpayer-funded help-to-buy scheme, first launched by George Osborne in 2013. When the scheme was extended in 2017, a report by Morgan Stanley found that the £10bn of taxpayers’ cash had mainly benefited housebuilders, rather than buyers, by pushing up prices.

Persimmon said it was in an “excellent market position” ahead of the key spring selling season, despite “increased levels of uncertainty” due to Brexit. It had £1.39bn of forward sales reserved at the end of last year, up 3%. Rival Taylor Wimpey was also upbeat about its outlook last week.

Both housebuilders are more cautious when it comes to buying land. Persimmon said it was taking a “selective approach” and Taylor Wimpey revealed that it had walked away from or was trying to renegotiate 2,000 plot purchases – amounting to about 11% of the total land it bought last year. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jan/15/persimmon-profits-help-to-buy-prices

Persimmon “Mystery remains over extent of new homes health and safety fire risk breaches”

Persimmon, whose MD recently retired with a £75 million bonus(reduced from £100 million after public outcry.

“One of the UK’s largest house builders has refused to answer vital questions about properties in one of its developments – including how many have failed vital fire safety barrier inspections.

An imminent health and safety risk to residents of Greenacres, and the Newcourt area near Topsham, was exposed following a ‘ferocious’ blaze which broke out in Trafalgar Road off Admiral Way and Topsham Road, last April, which spread into the roof spaces of two of the adjoining properties.

Firefighters had to dig through cavity walls between properties to ensure the fire was fully out. The fire was caused by cigarettes dropped into the under floor vent, and during the blaze the roof structure held up.

It later emerged all three properties, owned by social housing provider LiveWest, were found to be missing vital fire barriers in their cavity walls.

It has not been confirmed when all the homes were inspected, but there is believed to have been a significant delay in doing so. …”

https://www.devonlive.com/mystery-remains-over-extent-new-2425681

“Ex-Persimmon chief fails to set up charity after anger over £75m bonus”

Owl says: a charity for the homeless would seem appropriate …!

“Jeff Fairburn, the former chief executive of the housebuilder Persimmon, has failed to set up a charity almost a year after pledging to do so in an attempt to assuage public and political anger at his “obscene” £75m bonus.

Fairburn has not registered a charity with the Charity Commission or made any inquiries about how to set one up, 10 months after he said he would donate a “substantial proportion” of his bonus to a charitable trust. Fairburn declined to comment.

He was ousted last month after the company said his mammoth pay deal had become a “distraction”. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/dec/21/persimmons-former-ceo-jeff-fairburn-fails-to-set-up-charity-after-pledging-portion-of-75-million-bonus

“Builders criticised for lobbying against accessible homes”

“Private housebuilders have been accused of “appalling self-interest” over their lobbying against building more accessible homes for disabled residents.

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) has been objecting to councils across England that wish to fix new targets to increase the number of homes with room for wheelchair users and which could be adaptable.

It has made submissions to at least 17 authorities, from Liverpool to Sevenoaks, arguing that new local planning policies seeking more accessible housing could make it unprofitable to build new homes. The submissions also question whether predictions of an ageing population mean an increased demand for adaptable and accessible housing would be certain.

Charities including Age UK, the Centre for Ageing Better and Disability Rights UK said on Tuesday they were alarmed at its objections to planning policy proposals to make greater disability access mandatory. It said only 7% of homes were classed as accessible and that building to a higher accessibility standard would cost about £500 more.

The HBF represents highly profitable housing firms including Persimmon, which recorded gross profits of £565m in the first six months of this year, during which it built 8,000 new homes – a margin per home of about £70,000.

“Without homes that enable us to live safely and independently for as long as possible, we will see increased and unsustainable pressure on our health and social care services and much-reduced quality of life for people in older age,” the charities told the HBF in an open letter.

Unless it was enshrined in local planning policy, it remains optional under national regulations to incorporate features that make new homes suitable for people with reduced mobility and some wheelchair users. It also remains voluntary to make them fully wheelchair accessible, unless town halls make it mandatory.

In one submission to Broxbourne council in Hertfordshire, the HBF said: “The key issue we have with … policies that add financial burdens on the development industry in this local plan is that they have not been effectively tested.”

Objections have been raised by the HBF where it believes councils have not taken into account the financial impact of the proposals alongside other demands such as the provision of affordable housing, and said that if a council wanted to prioritise disabled access, it should reduce its demands for affordable homes.

An HBF spokesman said: “New homes are already more accessible than those built previously, but not all homebuyers want a home that has been adapted for accessible use.

“If government deemed that all homes should be built to higher accessibility standards it could make it a requirement. Currently levels are set by the planning system, which specifically requires local authorities to provide evidence to support their demands.”

“Their attitude is appalling self-interest,” said Cllr Pam Thomas, a wheelchair user and cabinet member for inclusive and accessible city at Liverpool city council, which has faced objections from the HBF to its plan to make 10% of new homes wheelchair accessible. “If they looked at this properly they would realise there wasn’t a problem with the cost or [extending] the footprint. They need to have a social conscience here.”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/nov/28/builders-criticised-for-lobbying-against-accessible-homes

“Is there a crisis of quality in new-build homes?”

Some of the stories in the article are both heart-rending and almost unbelievable and, almost as expected now, involve Persimmon/Charles Church. Here is the conclusion of the article:

“… Stories about poor quality are far from uncommon with buyers of new homes in Britain. Just over half (51%) of new home owners have experienced major problems with their properties including issues with construction, unfinished fittings and faults with utilities, according to housing charity Shelter.

Currently, all new homes must come with a warranty from an accredited provider. About 80% have a 10-year warranty from the NHBC, an insurance company that says it inspects “every home” registered with them. During the first two years of the policy, the NHBC says the builder is responsible for fixing any defects which do not comply with its technical standards. During years three to 10, the NHBC provides direct insurance cover for damage caused by defects in specific areas of the home.

The NHBC paid out £84.8m in claims between 2016-17.

Campaign group HomeOwners Alliance says the current system does not allow for quality of workmanship and fittings. “Although work is meant to be inspected independently at key stages, the inspection regime is currently failing homebuyers,” says its chief executive Paula Higgins. Instead, she argues, there needs to be a higher body policing the sector.

“We’ve been calling for a new homes ombudsman for a long time now as we’re inundated with calls from our members about shoddy workmanship and flawed properties yet there is currently no one holding these developers to account,” she says. “These firms are under pressure to build and with a shortage of skills in the sector corners get cut.”

A spokesman for Home Builders Federation says: “Inevitably when you are building hundreds of thousands of any product, in a field in all weathers there will be some, usually very minor issues in a small number of cases. In these instances it is the builders’ responsibility to correct those issues to the satisfaction of the customer.”

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/nov/17/quality-build-homes-charles-church-buyers?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

“Funding [loan] agreed for Axminster relief road that will end gridlock in the town centre

This loan of £7 million is being taken out based on an expectation that developers will pay it back … good luck there councillors, especially as developers are Crown Estates and … drum roll or scary music … PERSIMMON!

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/funding-agreed-axminster-relief-road-2211212