It looks like more problems may lie ahead for TV celeb Kevin McCloud’s HAB HOUSING COMPANY’s eco housing development at the former Dunmail School site in Southmead.
Launched in a blaze of ecstatic c-list
publicity by snooty Channel 4 property presenter McCloud alongside Mayor No
More Ferguson in 2015, they promised us the “HOUSING OF THE FUTURE“. And the future duly arrived in 2017
when Bristol City Council agreed to
BAILOUT the project by underwriting it with £500k of our money.
Now news emerges about a HAB development, ‘Lovedean Fields’ near Winchester in Hampshire, which a local councillor has described as “RESEMBLING A BOMB SITE“. Originally marketed as “a collection of beautiful three, four and five-bedroom homes” with facilities including allotments, play areas, an orchard and a wildflower meadow, the reality is turning out to be very different.
The councillor reports some of the roads on the development “DON’T HAVE THE TARMAC ON,” while completed roads are already CRUMBLING. A number of homes, due for completion in 2017, have “MAJOR PROBLEMS” including flooding and many are still covered in scaffolding. As for allotments, play areas, orchards and wildflower meadows, they’re all reported to resemble “A BUILDING SITE“.
This latest HAB cock-up follows press reports over the summer revealing that small investors who sank millions of pounds into HAB – which stands for “Happiness Architecture Beauty” – to fund bonds for this celebrity eco-housing adventure have been told they could face LOSING UP TO 97% OF THEIR MONEY. In September it emerged that attempts to restructure HAB bonds had failed and the company risked being wound up or falling into INSOLVENCY.
Quite where this leaves Bristol City Council is anyone’s guess. But if they want their “housing of the future” in Southmead to be habitable and have road access they may have to fork out some large sums of money.