Shropshire Star

Delayed Shropshire Council housing developments 'to be ready later this year'

Two new developments by a Shropshire Council-owned housing firm will be ready to welcome their first residents by September, after both were hampered by delays.

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The site of the former Ifton Heath Primary School, at St Martin's, earlier in the development process

Shropshire Council firm Cornovii Developments says its new homes in Ellesmere and St Martin’s have fallen behind schedule due to a string of site complications – as well as one of its contractors entering insolvency.

Giving an update to Shropshire Council’s housing supervisory board, Cornovii Developments MD Harpreet Rayet said both sites were now progressing well.

Mr Rayet said: “Members will be aware we have had quite a challenging time at Ellesmere in particular, with one of our contractors going into insolvency.

“We are very happy to report we have employed a new contractor, work has progressed on site and we have now nearly completed the foundations across the site, because there was some really complicated piling to be undertaken.

“We are now putting up the timber frame structures for five plots from early next week which will then take that scheme forward.”

The site, at Ellesmere Wharf, will include 23 houses and bungalows, and was made possible thanks to a government grant of £544,000 in 2018 towards investigatory and ground remediation works.

Mr Rayet said: “The key risk with that scheme continues to be the services. It is quite a complicated site given its history. It was previously a dairy factory.

“It had a gas main through the site, an electrical diversion through the site, and there were a number of pylons buried on the site as well.

“It is probably one of the most contaminated sites in Shropshire, which we have found out unfortunately.

“We are hoping, if everything does go to plan, that the site will be ready in terms of occupation between September and November this year.

“The key thing for us now is to get the timber frames up and resolve the electrical diversion issues on site, and sign a number of section 106 agreements, and then continue at pace with the construction.”

The St Martin’s development will see 35 new houses constructed on the site of the former Ifton Heath Primary School.

Mr Rayet said: “Again we have got some challenges with services but we are working with SPEN (SP Energy Networks), our electrical provider on the site, and we continue to work in partnership with them.

“We have resolved a complicated water connection issue and that was done late last year, which has allowed us to progress the site.

“Again, we are looking to start handing over the units from late summer through to January next year.

“Both sites are behind where we would like them to be, but unfortunately that’s due to the issues we have discussed at Ellesmere and due to some of the service issues we have had at Ifton Heath.”

Councillors were also presented with the company’s updated 10-year business plan, which sets out how it will deliver 736 new homes on 10 sites across the county by 2033 – an increase of eight homes compared to the previous business plan agreed last year.

As well as the two sites currently under construction, one development, The Frith in Shrewsbury, has already been completed.

Other schemes in the pipeline include 23 homes on the former Oakland primary School site in Bayston Hill and 135 homes on land off London Road in Shrewsbury, while plans for 85 homes in Oswestry were submitted last week but withdrawn the next day.

The business plan says 140 of its properties will be ‘affordable homes’, while 33 will be private rentals. The remainder will be sold on the open market.

It adds that work on the majority of sites – a total of 508 homes – is expected to start in the 2023/24 financial year.