Updated story: Work on a housing development in Charlton that was launched by Greenwich councillors last year has ground to a halt after the building contractors went out of business.
The development of 48 flats on an old car park at The Heights, above Charlton Athletic’s stadium, has been left half-finished after Claritas Group went into liquidation last month.
The Bromley-based company, which owed its creditors £9m, was in charge of building the flats, which are to be sold at 20 per cent discount when they are finished.
Jon Wardle, Claritas Group’s founder, said last month that he was “truly sorry” that his company had gone bust. “The challenge of cash flowing and managing the losses associated with the inflationary pressures of these uncertain times was just too great,” he said.
Pocket Living, the company behind the scheme, confirmed that work had halted when Claritas closed down. A spokeswoman said: “We have already gone out to tender for a new construction partner, which we hope to have identified by the end of summer. In the meantime, we will also undertake some minor works to keep up momentum on site.
“We have taken steps to ensure the site remains safe and secure, a point which we have communicated to the residents immediately adjacent to the development site.”
Pocket said that it still hoped to finish work next year, but until a new contractor was on board it could not be certain.
The scheme was launched a year ago, with Greenwich Council leader Anthony Okereke saying: “Our borough is growing fast and we need homes that suit everyone, so schemes like these will be important as we tackle the housing crisis.
“We know demand is high for homes in Greenwich and we’re doing everything we can to deliver housing for all, and projects like this will help first time buyers get on the ladder and keep local people living, working and enjoying our fantastic borough.”
Pocket has funding from City Hall for similar schemes across London, building compact flats aimed at professionals, and has described its work as a “public-private partnership”.
It plans to sell all the flats for 80 per cent of market value to people earning under £71,000 within the borough of Greenwich – meaning they tick the official definition of “affordable”, if not the dictionary definition. The company has previously said that a typical buyer would be earning about £40,000.
The council had originally hoped to transfer three sites to Pocket, which counts former Greenwich & Woolwich MP Nick Raynsford as a board member.
However, there was uproar in the ruling Labour Party, with activists questioning why the land could not be used for council housing instead, and plans to build at Lewisham Road and Kidbrooke Park Road were abandoned, leaving just The Heights, where plans were approved two years ago.
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