Work due to resume soon on Pocket Living construction site after four-month hiatus
PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 October 2019
An affordable housing development in Barking has stood empty since June after a key contractor went bust with £46million of debts.
Residents near the Pocket Living building site in Whiting Avenue noticed activity had dried up around three months ago.
The building contractor, Shaylor Group, collapsed in the early summer leaving 250 people out of work.
Last month it published its statement of affairs on Companies House, which revealed the UK-wide firm owed an eye-watering £46million to 673 mostly trade creditors.
But a spokeswoman for Pocket Living said despite the setback, work on the 78 flats was due to resume soon.
She told the Post: "Unfortunately the contractor at Whiting Avenue went into administration in June 2019 and as a result work on site stopped.
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"The site was left safe and secure and security staff have been in attendance every day.
"Pocket is pleased to be recommencing work by the end of October to deliver 78 new affordable homes for Barking first-time buyers. The new residents will be moving into their homes in late 2020."
Pocket Homes also received planning permission for a 20-home development in Wanstead, Redbridge, last year.
When completed, all of the one-bedroom flats in Barking will be restricted to first-time buyers living or working in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, with at least a 20 per cent discount off the full market value.
Work on the scheme began in September 2018 and was described by council leader Darren Rodwell as a "fantastic" development that would "help us address the imbalance in the housing market for local people who are looking for a route into home ownership."
Residents in the council-owned houses and flats around the empty building site said no-one had told them the reason why work had stopped.
Jean Holden, who is on the committee of the Whiting Avenue Residents' Association, said she wanted Barking and Dagenham Council to focus on maintaining its existing stock at the same time as giving permission for new builds.
The 69-year-old said: "This street has been left like a ghetto. The roads are terrible. They should focus on the homes already here; we feel like we've been forgotten."