Families welcome public meeting over delayed March homes after MP has ‘useful conversation’ with Sanctuary Housing boss

Sanctuary Housing, Tenants for new housing turn up on site in Gaul road. Picture: Steve Williams.

Sanctuary Housing, Tenants for new housing turn up on site in Gaul road. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Families have welcomed a public meeting with a housing boss over delays on a March homes development.

Sanctuary Housing, Tenants for new housing turn up on site in Gaul road. Picture: Steve Williams.

Sanctuary Housing, Tenants for new housing turn up on site in Gaul road. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Local MP Steve Barclay met with Simon Clark, Group Director for Housing and Support at Sanctuary Housing, yesterday (Thursday) and told him of the urgency needed to get the houses in Gaul Road completed.

As a result of the meeting Mr Clark has agreed to meet with residents, many of whom should have been in the houses months ago, to discuss the issue at March Library next Friday (August 14).

Mr Barclay’s intervention came after growing anger from families over the succession of delays to the housing scheme.

Mr Barclay said: “I had a useful conversation with Simon Clark from Sanctuary Housing this morning (Thursday) where I spelt out in very clear terms that the ongoing delays were not acceptable. I am particularly concerned that families with very young children are quite literally living out of suitcases with their lives put on hold for months on end. It is also important that we get this resolved as quickly as possible given the disruption to school age children when the schools return in September.

Sanctuary Housing, Tenants for new housing turn up on site in Gaul road. Picture: Steve Williams.

Sanctuary Housing, Tenants for new housing turn up on site in Gaul road. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant


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“I am pleased that Mr Clark agreed with my request for him to meet personally with residents next Friday, which will hopefully focus minds to ensure an acceleration in work over the next week. Senior management at Sanctuary Housing need to be more closely engaged and to ensure there is greater clarity over the forward programme and moving in dates when they meet with residents next week. Mr Clark has agreed to finalise a time and confirm the location for the meeting with March Town Council.

“I am told by Sanctuary Housing that many of the homes are largely constructed. If there are outstanding permits or consents required from third parties such as utility companies or the local authority, then I explained that either my office or local councillors can assist in challenging any such delays. However it is clear that the delays cannot be simply blamed on these other parties and to date no requests have been made to me.

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“I expressed my disappointment to Mr Clark that the letter sent to future residents on July 31 stated that “work is progressing well” on the scheme. By any interpretation the repeated delays make this untrue.

“I am pleased that Mr Clark accepted the need for greater urgency in bringing this matter to a close. I hope the knowledge of a meeting in eight days’ time with residents will now focus minds and discussions with the developer, so we do not drift through August with the excuse of summer holidays resulting in further delays.”

Tina Thompson, whose daughter Sian Bond and boyfriend Andrew Rilley are living in a box room at her New Road home along with their five-year-old daughter and baby, has welcomed the meeting and said she is now trying to ensure as many families as possible are aware so they can attend.

She said: “We don’t have a time at the moment, but I do hope as many people as possible can come along. It is great news for us, but I’m not sure whether Mr Clark will feel the same when he meets us. We are trying to get the message out and are using Facebook to let people who maybe on holiday know.”

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