Monday, 23 February 2009

"We may have to have new partners...."

You can listen here to the February Hackney Podcast where Jeanette Arnold, London Assembly Labour Member representing North East London, is interviewed. She comments on the Dalston Square development. Referring to the developer Barratt's credit-crunch difficulties she states: "what we can't dismiss... is we may have to have new partners..." .


Jennette Arnold AM, Chair of the London Assembly is pictured with Denis Oswald, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission (left) and Sebastien Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee.

This week Barratt announced a loss of £590million. "(If you follow this link, change the Period analysis from 5 days to 5 years to see the full scary picture). "This remains an intensely difficult market with little forward visibility" said their Chief Executive Mark Clare. "A capital injection could have pulled Barratt back from the brink..We must now limp on.." said KBC Peel Hunt. A further report suggests imaginative costs cutting is being praticsed on Barratt sites.

At a recent meeting between OPEN and the authorities, organised by OPEN's Patron Lord Low, it was said simply that Barratt is contracted to deliver the development. There is no Plan B. There has already been massive public subsidy of this loss making scheme. The authorities denied receiving any indication from Barratt that further public subsidy is needed. But they added that, whilst so far 61 flats have already been purchased with public funds to provide "affordable homes" on the site, there is to be a further meeting between the Hackney Council and the government's Homes and Communities Agency (formerly the Housing Corporation). Its purpose is to discuss financing further purchases from Barratt. However this was not a development designed for social housing.

Meanwhile, with the clock ticking before its planning permission expires, OPEN understands that Barratt has yet to satisfy any of the planning conditions before it can start to build its towerblocks on The Slab in Dalston when it is handed over to them on 1st October.

This artist impression shows, on the left, Barratt's, 10-20 storey development on the Council's demolished Dalston Theatre site and, on the right, further blocks of up to 20 storeys to be built on The Slab over TfL's railway cutting.

In seeking to justify the £40 million expenditure on The Slab, to provide a bus-turnaround above the railway station, the authorities mentioned, at the meeting with OPEN, the benefit that "bus drivers won't have to drive all the way to Walthamstow to get a cup of tea". So there's a comfort.

4 comments:

  1. Desperate Dan DalstonWednesday, 25 February, 2009

    I thought this may interest the new owners of flats in Dalston Square. Barratts are actually claiming that rubbish left behind walls in their buildings will actually cut down on noise!

    No mention of teh fire risk at all. Totally unprofessional and down right dangerous

    Cowboy Builders par excellence

    ONE of Britain’s biggest housebuilders is telling workers to leave leftover timber and plasterboard behind stud walls — to save cash.
    A manual sent by debt-laden BARRATT DEVELOPMENTS to construction teams across the UK urges them to “Keep it in the plot!”

    Builders are being told to nail off-cuts of wood to frames — and stick waste plasterboard behind partition walls. The manual says: “It should be fixed to avoid it moving.” The company claims the move will save money by cutting the number of trips to the rubbish dump.


    Barratt is one of a number of housebuilders hammered by the downturn in Britain’s property market.


    Its shares have crashed from more than 400p to just 71.5 in the past year on concerns over its £1billion debt. Half-year results today are expected to reveal more write-downs.

    Building bible CONTRACT JOURNAL claims the new move could break National House-Building Council regulations which insist work must be done in a “proper, neat and workmanlike manner”.


    Barratt insisted yesterday that none of the leftover material being used was waste. A spokesman claimed: “It’s excess.”


    He said it could BENEFIT homeowners — by reducing noise between walls.


    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/money/city/article244711.ece

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  2. So Barratts are asking their builders to put rubbish behind the walls in their buildings? That's novel! Anyone familiar with Barratts buildings will testify that the walls themselves are usually constructed of rubbish!

    Plus ça change ...

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  3. Have reported the apparent breach of safety regulations referred to below to the H.S.E. for action.

    On a wider scale, the threat to the overall project should not be underestimated. Thousands petitioned against the demolition of the Dalston theatre/Four Aces nightclub but LBH, the LDA and TfL won the argument. Hackney spent a fortune on buying the land, demolishing the buildings, security and £2 million legal fees, before handing the whole thing over to Barratts. Now the developer is in serious trouble. Whatever the outcome, the LDA and TfL will get their money back and Hackney will, once again, be left with nothing other than a huge white elephant and millions of pounds of unrecoverable investment

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  4. The authorities did not win the arguements. After 18 months they finally manufactured a committee decision which was legally bullet proof and so OPEN could no longer sustain the Court injuction preventing demoltion of our historic buildings. It looks like what OPEN feared most and warned against is now coming true.

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