Move-in delayed at Letchworth retirement development Le Jardin after Heritage Foundation refuses to sign off incorrect roofs and windows
PUBLISHED: 18:12 07 February 2017 | UPDATED: 09:34 09 February 2017
Danny Loo Photography 2017
Pensioners who had been set to move into a new Letchworth town centre retirement complex this week have been told they may have to wait until August because the developers put up incorrect roofs and windows.
Le Jardin, a development of 25 flats built exclusively for the over-60s in Station Road by housebuilders McCarthy & Stone, 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.
The developers are now going back to complete the work according to the original agreement, and have told prospective residents they may have to wait until August.
The sudden announcement to the incoming households comes at the stage when some are already packed to move, with the delay affecting not only those moving into Le Jardin but also the families buying their old homes.
One homeowner who is affected told the Comet: “The Heritage Foundation is only about 50 metres away on Station Road. Why did they wait until the last minute? Don’t they make regular inspections?
“People were supposed to be moving in this week. I can’t believe they didn’t know – they probably see it from their office, or pass it on the way to and from work.
“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.
“McCarthy & Stone’s website changed at the weekend from opening in spring to summer. 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.”
Another man phoned the Comet to say his parents were unable to move in this week as planned, adding that they were ‘very upset’.
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.
David Ames, the Heritage Foundation’s head of strategic planning and development, said: “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.”
A spokeswoman for McCarthy & Stone told the Comet that the firm was ‘on the same page’ as the Heritage Foundation regarding the necessary works and did not wish to comment further.