On behalf of the Parish John Jervoise and I met with Andrew Simpson, the CEO of Winchester Housing Trust (WHT) on December 20th.
WHT have been working during the summer and autumn to complete all the necessary legal and planning steps involved in the Herriard Housing scheme. In collaboration with the preferred developer, Drew Smith Group, WHT and representatives of the Parish Council have also been refining the specification and costings for the development. Unfortunately, it has now become clear that the tender from Drew Smith will not meet WHT’s financial viability requirements and Drew Smith Group have therefore withdrawn from bidding.
At the meeting on December 20th, Andrew Simpson reaffirmed WHT’s commitment to our scheme and we went on to discuss how to proceed with the project. Ridge and Partners, who have been retained by WHT as construction consultants, will assemble new tender documents so that quotations can be sought from alternative potential build partners. WHT have also identified sources of possible additional funding which they will investigate in the New Year. From our side, the Parish Council will continue to work with WHT supporting them in investigating new funding opportunities and looking for ways to eliminate construction cost without compromising the quality of the finished development – which is so important to all of us.
All those involved in the project remain enthusiastic and totally committed, but we do have to recognise that seeking new quotes and then appointing a new developer will delay the start of building. It would not be sensible to try to pin down a new construction start-date at the moment, but the intention remains to do this as soon as practically possible.
The Parish Council and WHT realise that this news will disappoint villagers, particularly those who have expressed interest in the new houses. We appreciate your continued patience and understanding.
News of progress with the housing scheme will continue to be provided and discussed at upcoming Parish Council meetings with minutes published on the Herriard PC website (www.herriard-pc.gov.uk).
Thank you and Seasonal Best Wishes to all,
Chair – Herriard Parish Council