Agenda item


The Service Manager – Housing Management and Home Ownership to present a report to the Cabinet Committee with regard to updating the Committee on the progress of the Council House Building Programme – Phases 2-4.



(1)             That the contents of the Progress Report on Phases 3 to 4 of the Council House Building Programme be noted and presented to the Cabinet in line with the Terms of Reference of the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee.



Deborah Fenton, Service Manager, Housing Management and Home Ownership, presented a report to the Cabinet Committee, she advised that the report set out the progress that has been made across phases 3 to 4 of the Council Housebuilding programme that had either been completed, were on-site or were currently being procured.


Phase 3


Queens Road, North Weald: HR116


10 x 3 Bed Houses and 2 x 2 Bed Houses




Site Start

Contract Period

Original Comp. Date

Queens Road

Storm Bld.


83 Weeks


Ant. Comp.


Contract Sum

Ant. Final Acc.



6 Weeks



£346,383 (14%)


As at the last valuation the contractor was granted an extension of time of 5 weeks due to utility delays which did not as yet attract an extra cost claim. However, there was a further delay of 8 to 10 weeks due to Government Restrictions in place relating to Covid-19 and the consequential effect on the supply chain. There were no cost claim details submitted at this time. 


The Current anticipated final account was anticipated to be c£2,850,000


Phase 4


Phase 4.1 - Contracted



Programmed SoS



Chequers Road (A), Loughton

HR 124

3x3B units




Bushfields, Loughton

HR 122

2x2B units




Chester Road, Loughton

HR 130

3x2B units




Queensway, Ongar

HR 140

4x1B units




Millfield, Ongar

HR 138

2x1B units






14 units





The Programmed Start on Site activity had now occurred on Chequers Rd (A) and Bushfields with the other sites to follow shortly. Pre-commencement variations (including the additional works to further address recent rear garden water logging issues on earlier phases) were in the process of being agreed, boundary treatments and drainage outfalls were being reviewed. Non Material and Material Amendment Applications were due to be submitted shortly.


Some Asbestos had been found under the slab at Chequers Rd (A) and a small area of potential ground contamination had been found at Bushfields, the cost of which was anticipated to be within the allowed contingency. Pre-design work was continuing and once finalised, if any further None Material/Material Amendment Applications were required, they would be submitted by the Contractor who was continuing to make progress within the Government Guidelines and restrictions with the aim of minimising any further delays.


The figures below in bold were the latest and set out the movement compared with the figures previously reported. This was down to several issues but mainly the adjustment in contract value following the Contractor Design and Build exercise and the associated drainage costs reported on previously. There remains a total contingency figure of £128,042.




Build Costs


Sub Total



Chequers Rd (A)













93,839                91,739









+ 6,321

Chester Road





































Phase 4.1 - Comprising



Latest Anticipated Possession


Hornbeam Close (B) Buckhurst Hill

HR 136

3 x units



Hornbeam House, Buckhurst Hill

HR 137

2 x units



Bourne House, Buckhurst Hill

HR 135

2 x units



Etheridge Road, Debden

HR 127

3 x units



Denny Avenue, Waltham Abbey

HR 144

3 x units



Beechfield Walk, Waltham Abbey

HR 147

5 x units



Kirby Close, Loughton

HR 120

4 x units





22 units




During a recent pre-commencement meeting the anticipated possession dates and initial start on site dates were presented subject to a further period of c2 – 3 weeks to allow for a staggered start on site. These would be confirmed closer to the anticipated commencement date..  


The Tender Report for the 4.2 group of sites was submitted and approved at the CHBCC meeting in June 2020 and the tender prices of £2,160,015 and £4,234,504 which totalled £6,394,519 was accepted with completion some c52 weeks following the Start on Site date.


The Contractor Indecom Limited, was currently engaged in carrying out their Design and Build responsibilities and the Contract was being finalised for signing.


Non Material and Material Applications were being prepared for submission to address any and all known changes that have occurred since the original consent was granted for the various sites.


With regard to the current Government restrictions good progress had been made in these difficult circumstances to continue to progress due diligence and work towards completing the designs so as to minimise any further potential delays.


Phase 4.3 – Comprising




Pick Hill

Waltham Abbey

HR 145

2 x units

Pentlow Way

Buckhurst Hill

HR 139

7 x units

Bromefield Court Waltham Abbey

HR 143

1 x unit

Shingle Court

Waltham Abbey

HR 147

1 x unit


Waltham Abbey

HR 148

1 x unit

Woollard Street

Waltham Abbey

HR 149

8 x units

Wrangley Court

Waltham Abbey

HR 161

1 x unit



21 units


These above sites have been recently tendered and were now being analysed and would be reported upon in the form of a further Tender Report which will be presented at the next CHBCC meeting in December 2020. Initial indications were that tender price was likely to be just below the Cost Consultants latest forecast.


Due to significant design changes which were necessary to Pentlow Way and Woollard Street, these will be resubmitted for Planning consent.


Phase 4.4 – Comprising: -

Chequers Road (B), Loughton:                       8 x units       

Ladyfields, Loughton:                                    16 x units  

Lower Alderton Hall Lane, Loughton:            2 x units 

Thatchers Close, Loughton:                           1 x unit

Total                                                                27   units


Due to significant design changes and scheme improvements reported previously Chequers Road (B) and Ladyfields will be resubmitted for Planning Consent. These will both be designed to ‘Passivehaus’ standard ‘Fabirc First’ and Ladyfields will be designed and build to the full ‘Passivehaus’ Standard incorporating ‘Air Source Heat Pump and Heat Recovery System’ as a positive response to Councils Climate Emergency and will enable field tests and experience to be gained to better inform the Councils future decision making.


Lower Alderton Hall Drive and Thatchers Close


Both sites were awaiting consent and have been delayed by the Local Plan and the SAC issues which was hoped to be resolved soon. 


It should be noted that a potentially significant change in Planning views had been raised which may considerably affect the CHBP for which further clarification was being sought. The programme was continuing albeit ‘at risk’.


In summary to date the total of 84 properties for Phase 4, which now reflected a potential increase in affordable units of 12 extra properties (16.6%) over what had previously been forecasted and approved.


Council C C Pond referred to page 18 of the agenda, Phase 5+ and asked if the Officer could explain what the potentially significant change in planning views.


D Fenton advised that it related to an issue regarding what constituted starting on site. Previously with the Council Housebuilding Programme (CHBP) when garage doors were removed, that had been taken as commencement on site, however Planning have done some more research into this matter and have changed their view on what constituted a start on site. To currently continue with the CHBP, albeit at risk, we are awaiting an outcome from Planning for a conclusion and hopefully this will come to the next meeting.


Councillor Bedford stated that the Council need to be more mindful going forward as to when start on site dates were approaching the end of the planning permission some kind of warning mechanism process needs to be put in place to alert officers.


D Fenton advised that she was aware that this process needed to happen and going forward will be using an end of project planned approach so that this issue would not happen again.


Councillor C C Pond advised that he had been contacted by a number of constituents who were interested in the right to buy of new Council houses, despite the conditions relating to the length of tenancy and the amount of discount and I have been prompted by them to ask whether all future Council Housebuilding sites will be developed by EFDC itself and they worry that their right to buy could be abrogated by sites being transferred to third parties.


D Fenton advised that in terms of Council Housebuilding, the Council intend to build out all of the sites that were currently identified. There are a number of other sites that are transferring into Qualis. On these sites there will be a requirement for affordable housing I am not sure how this works as it will be for Qualis and Planning to agree the terms. Therefore to clarify your question all the properties that are or will be built by the Council Housebuilding Programme they will be let on secure tenancies and therefore residents would have the right to buy. Any sites transferred or acquired by Qualis residents of these would not have the right to buy as these will be let on a different tenancy between Qualis and the resident.


Councillor H Whitbread, Chairman clarified that all sites already identified under the Council Housebuilding Programme will be built and owned by the Council and let to residents who qualify for Council housing.


Councillor J Philip stated that any sites owned and built by Qualis would remain under the control of Qualis and these properties would not be liable for right to buy as Qualis would be renting these properties out and controlling who they would rent them out to. The Council may use Qualis as their development agent and they would develop the sites and hand them back to the Council and these properties would be Council housing and liable for right to buy.


Councillor D Wixley asked about Chester Road, as this was in his ward, and about the new approach. Could the officer explain what the difference was between the old approach and the new approach.


D Fenton stated in view of Chester Road officers need to do some work to understand when the planning conditions were discharged and some due diligence to make sure everything was in place to satisfy the planning regulations.


In terms of the new approach there was a report later on the agenda, but essentially what had happened in the past was officers had looked at garage sites, some of these sites have been subject to anti-social behaviour, therefore the Council have decided to build on them and put in for planning permission. Officers have not looked at the immediate area to do with parking stress, planting schemes and the area in general, there had been no work with Members in the early stages of the process and going forward we plan to have more community input, input from Members and look at the immediate area to make sure it was a community where people wanted to live and not just a garage site demolished with a block of flats built on it.


Councillor H Whitbread asked in relation to the impact of Covid, were there any measures ready to be put in place if there was a local lockdown and have officers considered how that would affect the CHBP.


J Cosgrove answered in terms of the Covid-19 the health and safety issues and the site management issues have been considered and fortunately to a large degree outdoor activities are more favourable from Covid-19 restrictions but until you see the type of restrictions they would be put in place it was difficult to predict. The CHBP had managed to maintain some form of construction progress throughout this pandemic although some of the consequences have seen some levels of delay, in particular from the supply chain.




(1)             That the contents of the Progress Report on Phases 3 to 4 of the Council House Building Programme be noted and presented to the Cabinet in line with the Terms of Reference of the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee.


Reasons for Decision:


Set out in its Terms of Reference, the Council House Building Cabinet Committee was to monitor and report to the Council on an annual basis progress and expenditure concerning the Council House Building Programme. This report sets out the progress made over the last 12 months.


Other Options Considered and Rejected:


This report was on the progress made over the last 12 months and was for noting purposes only. There were no other options for action.

Supporting documents: