(Housing Portfolio Holder) To consider the attached report (C-051-2017/18).
(1) That the Annual Progress Report of the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee on Council Housebuilding be noted.
The Housing Portfolio Holder introduced the Annual Progress Report of the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee and asked the Assistant Director of Housing (Housing Property & Development) to present the report.
In respect of phase 1, the Assistant Director reported that the original contract had been let with Broadway Construction Limited on 27 October 2014, with the completion of phase 1 expected on 13 November 2015. However, due to the delays that had built up, the Council determined the contract with Broadway and procured a new contract with P.A. Finlay & Company Limited to complete phase 1. The phase 1 recovery work was completed on 31 October 2017, with the final two homes on the Red Cross site being handed over and occupied. The determination of the contract with Broadway had also led to a significant increase in costs from £2.3million to £5.9million.
The Assistant Director informed the Cabinet that the Council had received a notice of Adjudication on 22 November 2017, which had been referred by Broadway Constriction Limited. This concerned the termination of the contract by the Council on 1 June 2016, which Broadway maintained was wrongful and constituted a repudiatory breach of contract. The Adjudicator reached their decision on 2 February 2018 and gave a comprehensive judgement in favour of the Council.
The Assistant Director stated that the works for phase 2 of the Programme had been progressing at various stages across the site at Burton Road in Loughton. The Contractor was currently forecasting a nine week delay, with completions expected at the end of August 2018. The two most significant cost increases had related to contamination remediation, and utilities and cable disconnections.
The Assistant Director recounted that the works at six of the sites in Phase 3 were either close to completion or progressing well, and cost overruns were less than 10% at each site. However, due to the nature of the final site at Queens Road in North Weald, a package of initial enabling works had to be completed first and construction was expected to finish in October 2019.
The Assistant Director advised the Cabinet that the projects which made up the future phases 4 – 6 of the Council Housebuilding Programme had continued to be progressed, with planning permission for 24 sites which would deliver 74 new homes. There were 13 sites so far which had not been granted planning permission. In September 2017, East Thames gave notice that they no longer wished to act as Development Agents on behalf of the Council. Whilst a three-month exit management term was set out in the Agreement, East Thames had agreed to extend this to six months, ending on 9 March 2018, to enable as smooth a handover as possible. The Council had now implemented a number of actions to ensure that there was no disruption in service or the quality of the service.
The Cabinet welcomed the fact that lessons from earlier phases of the Programme had been learned for the latter phases. The Assistant Director highlighted that ... view the full minutes text for item 136