Plans for 48 homes in Hart pressing ahead despite ‘major unanticipated abnormal costs'

Council plans for 48 homes in Hart are still to go ahead despite ‘major unanticipated abnormal costs’ since an initial agreement.

Friday, 15th November 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Friday, 15th November 2019, 4:45 pm
The site in question. Picture c/o Google Streetview

Hartlepool Borough Council bosses had previously marketed the land at Hart village, off Palace Row, for sale in 2007 and approval was given to a ‘joint venture’ based sale to one of the tenderers.

Subsequently the developer carried out site investigation work and ‘costed abnormal items’ according to council officers.

A report before Hartlepool Borough Council Finance and Policy Committee said due to the costs the developer has now revised the offer for the site for housing.

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Councillors on the committee approved the revised deal for the site, with council officers adding the issues were ‘unavoidable’ and the council will still receive ‘a substantial receipt’, although not as much as previous.

Denis McGuckin, director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, said: “There are a higher level of abnormal costs associated with this scheme and as such we are asking members to look at a sale rather than a joint venture.

“The previous joint venture was whilst more financially attractive did expose the council to a very significant risk in terms of the present economic climate and fears regarding the changes of the time scale for Brexit and other associated uncertainties.

“The completion of the sale will result in a substantial receipt from the site and a significant cash payment through section 106 agreement.”

Council officers state the land is earmarked for 48 new homes, which would likely include eight band F properties and 26 band E homes.

The remainder would be made up of two band D homes, eight band C, and four band B.

However Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher and Coun Ann Marshall both voted against the move.

Coun Akers-Belcher said: “I’m a bit disappointed we’ve been put in this position in regards to a joint venture which has been going on for quite a considerable time.

“The amount of monies is considerably different to what was presented to the previous committee.”

Council officers said there are ‘lessons to be learned’ from the situation and the sale will still help the council reach its financial receipts targets.

The council director of regeneration and neighbourhoods will now in consultation with the chief solicitor and chair of finance and policy committee look to agree the detailed terms of the contract.