Thursday, November 13, 2008

Who are you trying to kid Georgie?

Last week, in response to our press release, George Dunning stated publicly that he had had talks with Persimmon and that they were hoping to start work on the Coatham scheme in April of next year.

I scratched my head when I saw that statement last week, in view of Persimmons' dire financial statement which said that they had made 2000 people redundant, £600,000,000 had been wiped off the value of their land bank and their house sales had plummetted.. Yesterday Mr Dunnings statement confused me a little more, when the Governor of the bank of England said that the country was already in recession, that the forecast of 0% growth had now changed and that growth was actually going to be -2% next year and that even worse, by the end of 2010, there would probably be three million people unemployed in this country.

So today, when I read this article in the Guardian, George Dunnings statement had me absolutely dumbfounded?

And I quote..."With 380 homes completed, two of the three big construction firms, Persimmon and Martin Grant Homes, have downed tools because of the meltdown in the housing market, leaving residents surrounded by large swaths of a derelict construction site.

Antisocial behaviour has flourished. Residents, many with young families, complain of hooded gangs roaming the streets and robbing garden sheds. "We've had trouble with kids throwing stones at the house when we moved in. The builders left loads of rubble outside which is ammunition for them," said Emma Wren. "There are no pavements so you can't walk along with a buggy. Even walking to the bus stop you have to go through long grass and weeds."

The master developer, Gallagher Estates, promised shops, cycle lanes, bus routes, a multi-function hall, all-weather sports pitches, children's play areas, and even a "sensory garden" for disabled families. A primary school and one well-equipped play area have opened, but residents are still waiting for the other facilities.

Stella and Yemi Macaulay were among the first residents, moving into their four-bedroom townhouse almost two years ago. The pavements on their street are still unfinished. "They said it was going to be a new luxury place but Arbury Park is like a construction site. It's like a rubbish dump," said Mr Macaulay. "There are no basic amenities." He feared the credit crunch would mean the estate would not be finished for another five years. "We don't know what is going to happen now. Nobody knows. When is the business centre going to come? When are they going to finish the pavements?"

If Persimmon have downed tools on a site and houses that are already under construction, then how are they going to begin work on a site in Coatham that hasn't even been started on? I mean one of the residents of this unfinished development quite clearly state that because of the credit crunch, he feared that the estate would not be finished for another five years. So why did George Dunning and Persimmon still maintain in their statement last week, that Persimmon hoped to be on site in Coatham in April next year, when they wont be completing work on a site that they have already started on, for years to come?

I think the clue lies in the word "hoped".

Read on, antisocial behaviour, hooded gangs robbing properties, dereliction as a result of 'caring Persimmon' just walking off the job.

But I think that the people of Redcar and Cleveland will be most interested to read about the broken promises of pie in the sky leisure facilities that have not materialised in the development that is featured in the Guardian article. Shops, cycle lanes, bus routes, multi function hall, all weather sports pitches, childrens play area, a sensory garden for disabled people, all of them have failed to happen.

Do these things that have not materialised in the development featured in the Guardian article, sound awfully like the Extreme Sports centre, leisure centre including two swimming pools a dance floor and a 5GP medical village, all weather sports pitches, bus routes, childrens nursery, bowling alley, single screen cinema and a visitor centre with iconic viewing tower that both the council and Persimmon have been trying to dupe the people of this borough into thinking that they are going to get?

Really, if George Dunning wants to be respected as leader of this failing, two star authority, he ought to stop treating the public like idiots by churning out statements that people can see, by the things that are going on around them, are absolute nonsense and start telling the public the truth.

Namely, that this Coatham housing scheme and the leisure scheme that never has been, is, or ever will be, is finished. And that all that this council are hell bent on doing is tying us to Persimmon until they are ready to build their houses on a contaminated, minefield and zone three high risk flood area.

Once again, the only question that needs answering now is, why?

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