Home buyers left in limbo
SALES of homes on a new estate in Huntingdon have ground to a halt because the St Neots-based developer has failed to put up street lighting or do landscaping work. Planners are adamant that the work at The Spinney, in Hinchingbrooke Park, which was a pla
SALES of homes on a new estate in Huntingdon have ground to a halt because the St Neots-based developer has failed to put up street lighting or do landscaping work.
Planners are adamant that the work at The Spinney, in Hinchingbrooke Park, which was a planning condition triggered by the sale of a given number of homes, must go ahead to protect potential buyers.
But the developer claimed an indemnity offered to buyers should solve the problem.
One prospective buyer, Hunts Post reader Catherine Killworth, and her partner Ben Norman have been sleeping on friends' and relations' floors for months because of the delay.
Many of the homes on the site are 'affordable', including property bought on a shared equity basis, where buyers have part of the property on a mortgage and pay rent on the rest until they can afford a full mortgage.
"We have been waiting for an equity share property since January and now, seven, months later, we are being told that, because of breaches in planning permission, we will not be able to get the mortgage and move in. The contract exchange deadline said six weeks, not seven months," Catherine said.
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The couple could not rent temporarily for fear of ending up having to pay rent on a second property at the same time as the mortgage at The Spinney if the system had been unblocked by the developer, Keir-owned Twigden doing the landscaping and lighting work.
Huntingdonshire District Council's head of planning services Steve Ingram ack-nowledged that purchases would be delayed, but said the system protected buyers from un-expected bills that should be met by the developers.
"When a search is made, we flag it up and the buyer's solicitor will pick it up because, if people buy, the responsibility transfers to the new owners," he said. "If the developers can't sell, it hits them in the wallet. It works quite well."
HDC had past problems - before his time with the council, he stressed - when such conditions had not been complied with and developers had walked away leaving sites uncompleted with no financial incentive to finish them.
But Twigden said that it would carry out the work once approval of the schemes submitted to the council had been given.
"We have given an indemnity - in writing on July 12 - to the housing association purchasers' solicitors, which provides cover for the risk highlighted by them," a company spokesman said. "On this basis, there is no reason why a mortgagor would not offer a mortgage."
Planners said that, if the developers had complied with the conditions attached to the original planning consent, the problem would not have arisen. The indemnity changed nothing.