Delayed Letchworth retirement development Le Jardin set to welcome first homeowners in May, say builders McCarthy & Stone

Le Jardin, the McCarthy & Stone retirement development in Letchworth's Station Road.

Le Jardin, the McCarthy & Stone retirement development in Letchworth's Station Road. - Credit: Archant

A new Letchworth retirement complex, delayed after the builders put up incorrect roofs and windows, is now set to welcome its first homeowners in May.

Some pensioners had already been packed to move into Le Jardin, a development of 25 flats built exclusively for the over-60s in Station Road by housebuilders McCarthy & Stone, when they learned this week that they might have to wait until August.

The development has not been signed off by the Heritage Foundation, which owns the land, on the grounds that it does not square with the agreed drawings and specifications – and McCarthy & Stone is now going back to complete ‘remedial work’ in accordance with the original agreement.

McCarthy & Stone’s Ali Maruf said yesterday: “We are undertaking remedial works to certain elements of our new retirement living development, Le Jardin, on Station Road. The work being carried out is to ensure the development is completed in accordance with the original agreement that we hold with the Heritage Foundation. All works have been agreed with the Heritage Foundation and will commence in the next few days.

“Regrettably, these adjustments have resulted in a change to our opening schedule, and we now expect to welcome our first homeowners in May.

“We recently met with our reserved purchasers to firstly apologise for the inconvenience and to discuss the situation in detail, and the proposed timescales that will allow us the opportunity to safely undertake the required works.

“We are in regular contact with our homeowners to assist them with their individual and unique situations, ensuring that disruption is kept to a minimum until their move to Le Jardin can be completed.”

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The Comet understands that some quite major work needs to be done, including replacing the roofs and some of the windows – and that not all the right materials were used by the builders.

The delay affects not only the households moving into Le Jardin but also the families buying their old homes.

One homeowner who is affected told the Comet: “We are packed ready to move, as is everyone else in our chain, as well as all those other people moving in and in their chains. There must be about 100 people affected. We don’t know what to do at the moment.

“There is a meeting next Friday with the prospective buyers and McCarthy & Stone when everyone will be told possible dates that buyers can move in.”

David Ames, the Heritage Foundation’s head of strategic planning and development, said earlier this week: “The Heritage Foundation granted the Station Road site lease to McCarthy & Stone subject to an agreement it would be developed in accordance with certain drawings and specifications.

“We are now working with McCarthy & Stone to ensure the building is completed in accordance with this original agreement.”