Council to take back £50m Blackpool housing scheme

A blueprint has been set out towards restarting work on a £50m Blackpool housing estate whose future was thrown into uncertainty following the collapse of a developer last year.

Friday, 21st August 2020, 3:45 pm
Homes at Foxhall Village which were completed prior to building work being stopped

Blackpool Council is on the brink of agreeing a deal with administrators to take back ownership of the Foxhall Village site and work with Great Places Housing Group to build 40 homes as part of phase three of the scheme.

It also means further infrastructure will be put in place and just short of £100,000 will be spent on securing the site.

Work at Foxhall Village stopped last October when contractor Hollinwood Homes went into administration with just 193 of the planned 410 homes built.

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The company began work in 2014 after being chosen to develop two parcels of land between Central Drive, Rigby Road and Tyldesley Road.

The site had been assembled by the council with the help of a £2.7m government grant, with the rest of the cash coming from the Government’s New Homes Bonus scheme aimed at encouraging house building.

Failed guesthouses were demolished to make way for the flagship regeneration scheme where roads are named after Blackpool FC’s famous 1953 FA Cup winning team.

Now a council report says administrator Price Waterhouse Cooper “has concluded that there is no viable market interest to take on the site”.

It is feared unless the council steps in “the site will continue to decay and existing residents will be left in a precarious position as infrastructure will remain unadopted and incomplete. ”

The report adds: “Positive action by the council to take control of the site will provide a focus to help determine the best way to continue development.

“This will also enable the completion of other supporting elements of occupied parts of the development including the highway and drainage systems, which remain unadopted, in support of the local community.

“The complexities have meant that the administrator has exhausted the options to dispose and has agreed to surrender the leases, thereby returning control back to the council.”

Work stopped with 74 houses set to be built as part of phase three, of which 50 have had foundations put in, and another 25 are at various stages of construction.

Great Places, which already owns 79 properties on the site, proposes to complete 40 of those properties.

But preparation, which could take up to nine months, will include examining the partially constructed homes, checking warranties and getting hold of technical plans from Hollinwood Homes.

In the meantime it is proposed to spend £63,000 securing the phase three site including with fencing, which will be split between the council and Great Places.

The council will spend a further £30,000 on further security measures.

Land earmarked for phase four of the development next to Blackpool Football Club remains within the control of the council.