WISBECH: Housing crisis prompts doubts on Taylor Wimpey's commitment to Nene
EXCLUSIVE By John Elworthy BRITAIN S worsening housing crisis has cast doubt over the commitment of Taylor Wimpy to deliver the 370 homes promised as part of the £50million re-development of the Nene Waterfront. An exclusive investigation by the Standard
By John Elworthy
BRITAIN'S worsening housing crisis has cast doubt over the commitment of Taylor Wimpy to deliver the 370 homes promised as part of the £50million re-development of the Nene Waterfront.
An exclusive investigation by the Standard discovered that the house builder- which turned a £400 million profit in 2006 to a £19.5 million loss last year- is now reviewing the terms of its Wisbech agreement.
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Talks with Fenland District Council have taken place in recent weeks and a confidential briefing was due to be given to Cabinet members yesterday.
Confirmation that the scheme was undergoing a review came from Council Leader Geoff Harper after our evidence was presented to him on Wednesday.
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"With the current state of the housing market, it is no surprise that a developer should wish to review their position," he said. "We are currently in discussions with the developer on this matter. It is a situation we anticipated and we are prepared for."
The waterfront scheme is the council's flagship project and just 15 months ago over 600 people visited a public exhibition to get a glimpse of the biggest regeneration project of its kind since the draining of the Fens.
Whilst separately funded schemes such as the £3.5 million Boathouse business centre storm ahead, not a single brick has been laid for any of the 370 homes.
"With on going support of our funding partners, we remain confident that we will deliver new homes as part of the regeneration of the Nene waterfront, despite the current difficult market conditions," said Cllr Harper.
Taylor Wimpy- formed almost a year ago through the £5.5 billion merger of Taylor Woodrow and George Wimpy- had planned to develop the Wisbech homes through its Bryant home subsidiary.
I understand that no contract as such has been signed between Fenland District Council and Taylor Woodrow. Following a tender process, Taylor Woodrow were invited- and accepted- preferred developer status pending remediation of the site.
It now seems possible that the newly established Taylor Wimpy is taking a hard look at all of their commitments and may be using their commercial muscle to broker a new deal. The council remains confident Taylor Wimpy will stay on board.
Taylor Wimpey was hit last year by massive write downs on its land holdings in America and Spain and the firm has said it will take a change in interest rates and a stabilising of the economy to return to normal trading conditions.