Empty newbuild houses in Cambridge worth more than £20m to be demolished because of building defects

ANGLIA 090623 DARWIN GREEN ESTATE CAMBRIDGE, houses may have to be knocked down and rebuilt.
CREDIT geoff robinson
Some 36 homes at the Darwin Green estate in Cambridge will need to be rebuilt. Credit: Geoff Robinson

Dozens of new-build houses will need to be knocked down and entirely rebuilt due to defects, developers have admitted.

Some 36 homes at the Darwin Green development in Cambridge - each selling for at least £575,000, and some up to £850,000 - will need to be demolished due to issues with their foundations.

One councillor said people's "lives and dreams" had been "shattered", while another called for an independent inquiry.

The developer, Barratt and David Wilson Homes Cambridgeshire, said there was a "small number" of homes that "did not meet its usual high standards".

It said the homes were currently unoccupied, and it had apologised to the people affected.

  • Will you be affected by the demolition of the homes? Email anglianews@itv.com

The Darwin Green estate is still being built and when completed, it will be made up of around 1,500 homes.

A two-bed detached house at the development is being advertised for at least £575,000, while the highest value five-bed houses are on sale for as much as £850,000.

The Darwin Green development in Cambridge. Credit: Geoff Robinson

Cambridge City councillor Antoinette Nester said: "Although these houses are empty, residents in phase one of the development have already moved in, leaving them wondering if their properties also face the same issue.

"People's lives and dreams suddenly become shattered. This represents a broader slap in the face to anyone trying to buy their first home in Cambridge.

"We're desperately short of houses and developers like Barratt David Wilson can't even seem to do it properly."

She said she wanted to see the developer pay the "full costs of the redevelopment work" and offer "necessary compensation to residents".

Councillor Cheney Payne said she "almost did not believe it at first" that 36 homes would need to be demolished.

She said: "There needs to be an independent inquiry into what has happened, and residents deserve reassurance on what is going to happen next."

A public meeting has now been organised on 29 June at the Storey's Field Centre from 7pm.

When plans for the the final phase of 210 homes were approved back in April, concerns were raised by some councillors that the developer was "falling behind" with compliance.

Councillor Simon Smith said the demolition was a "terrible waste", and was "even more shocking" due to the "widely known issues with the plasticity of soil conditions in the area".

A spokesperson for Barratt and David Wilson Homes Cambridgeshire, said: "As a five-star housebuilder, we have an extensive quality assurance process and during inspections, we found that a small number of unoccupied properties at our Darwin Green development did not meet our usual high standards.

"Unfortunately, the most effective course of action at this stage is to demolish the properties and rebuild them.

"We have apologised to the customers affected and understand their frustrations, but we are doing all that we can to lessen the impact of this for them.

"The most important thing is that the homes we build for our customers are of the highest quality possible and this means identifying any mistakes and putting them right, which is what we are doing here."

  • Will you be affected by the demolition of the homes? Email anglianews@itv.com

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