Housing giants face council fury over delays to promised school

Grant Prior 7 months ago
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A council is considering legal action against three of the country’s biggest house builders to take control of a delayed school building project forming part of a major mixed-use scheme in Barry.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council said it will consider legal action to take charge of building Barry Waterfront School if developer the Waterfront Consortium refuses to hand over control voluntarily.

The council said the Waterfront Consortium – of Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Homes – has repeatedly delayed work on the school and has still not given assurances over a construction start date.

Cllr Lis Burnett, Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “Enough is enough. It is regrettable that we have reached this point, but the consortium has proven it has no interest in building the primary school it promised as part of the Waterfront Development.

“I, along with other Council representatives, have held numerous meetings with them in an effort to address this matter but have been unable to make any real progress.

“At every turn we have been met with excuses, yet the developers’ house building operation does not seem to be suffering from the same problems, which is frankly astonishing.

“I can only conclude that while happy to build houses for commercial gain, the Waterfront Consortium has no interest in fulfilling its obligation to build a community.

“It is not only in breach of its legal commitments, but also local and national government polices around placemaking.

“The consortium has broken promises to residents of the Vale of Glamorgan and that is something we are not prepared to accept.

“This situation has been tolerated for long enough. We have formally written to the Waterfront Consortium asking that it sign over the school site to us. If the developers do not agree, we will explore what legal action is available to allow us to take control.”

The Council has previously taken enforcement action against developers at Barry Waterfront after they began building residential properties without appropriate planning permission.

A Temporary Stop Notice was also previously issued preventing the building and selling of new homes on the waterfront until significant progress had been made on delivering a complex of commercial space, including bars and restaurants, known as the District Centre.

A spokesperson for the Barry Waterfront Consortium said: “The Consortium is fully committed to delivering the school as soon as possible for the benefit of the local community. We share concerns over the ongoing delays and agree that the school is a key aspect of the overall development.

“The Consortium has worked really hard to deliver the school but most of the delays have been outside of the Consortium’s control.

“Extensive ground improvement works have recently been completed and piling works are scheduled to commence on 24th January 2022, subject to finalising legal documentation with the council.

“We will continue to work with the council to ensure this new community benefits from a new school at the earliest possible date.”

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