NENE WATERFRONT: Fenland towns- and even Huntingdon- get new homes as Wisbech scheme withdrawn
EXCLUSIVE By JOHN ELWORTHY WISBECH felt the first dramatic blows of the credit crunch last night after delays to the Nene Waterfront project saw nearly £2 million of funding withdrawn for 43 affordable homes. Fenland Council had to admit defeat in their
By JOHN ELWORTHY
WISBECH felt the first dramatic blows of the credit crunch last night after delays to the Nene Waterfront project saw nearly £2 million of funding withdrawn for 43 affordable homes.
Fenland Council had to admit defeat in their battle to build the homes as part of the £50 million regeneration project and now Housing Corporation money allocated for the scheme will be switched elsewhere.
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Some of the homes will be built in other Fenland towns but because of the urgency to spend the money soon, 18 of the homes are going to Godmanchester.
Main contractor Taylor Wimpey's financial woes have stalled work on the 300 private homes that should have been built alongside the Nene.
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"We're pressing ahead with clearing the land so we can continue the development once the market picks up," said Council Leader Geoff Harper.
This week, on his return from holiday, he was briefed on the Nene project and will report to Cabinet colleagues next week.
"I'm not sure even if Taylor Wimpey are still involved but our ambitions for this site remain unaltered," he said.
Ironically when Fenland Council signed the contract with Taylor Wimpey no guarantee was requested as officers felt the "financial standing" of the company did not merit one. Since then Taylor Wimpey's shares have plunged from more than £4 to a little over 40p, the firm has shed 99 jobs and closed a third of its regional offices.
Attempts to keep all of the money in Fenland had failed but 12 homes will now be built in Chatteris ,11 on the former Morleys Garage site in Whittlesey and another two in Cemetery Road, Whittlesey.
"This leaves a shortfall of 18 which we have no schemes suitably advanced to suggest for transfer," said Councillor Alan Melton, portfolio holder for economic development.
To keep good contacts with Circle Anglia, the council had recommended the remaining allocation be switched to the housing association's development at Godmanchester.
A spokesman for Fenland Council said they expected the Housing Corporation funding to be re-instated once work on the Nene eventually gets under way.