THE end could be in sight for Chichester’s derelict homes eyesore.
Described previously by residents as an ‘eyesore’ and a ‘white elephant’, the Heritage Site in Chichester has been a centre of controversy for years.
In 2008, residents were moved out of the sheltered housing, in Winden Avenue, to make way for a multi-million pound redevelopment.
However the scheme has been beset with problems — with the buildings lying empty and decaying for the past few years.
But despairing residents are now cautiously optimistic that after many false dawns, work is about to begin on construction of the 56 new homes.
In the last few days a large sign has gone up outside the hoardings, proclaiming the involvement of the Hyde Group, Chichester District Council, the Homes and Communities Agency and Drew Smith Ltd developers in ‘a development of 56 homes for rent for local people’.
It has been confirmed developer Drew Smith has entered into a contract with housing association The Hyde Group to build the homes.
Susan Adams, head of delivery at Hyde, said: “This project has been in the pipeline for some time and has proved challenging.
“We’re, however, delighted to be working with Drew Smith to progress.
“It’s a development that will provide much-needed homes and make a positive impact on the community.”
In addition to the 56 homes affordable homes for over-50s, the site is also set to include 36 homes for sale on the private market.
The work has been delayed numerous times.
It was announced last year the work was due to start in the autumn, however this ultimately fell through, which Hyde said was because of ‘circumstances beyond our immediate control’.
The project for 56 affordable homes and 36 for sale on the open market was allocated a £1.9m grant from the Homes and Communities Agency, which was discussed earlier this year at the district council’s cabinet meeting.
However, at the time it was stated that work was supposed to start by March, 2013, in order to get the money.
However, despite missing the deadline, the Homes and Communities Agency has now invested £850,000 in the scheme, with a further £850,000 to be paid to the Hyde Group provided work is completed by March, 2015.
Helen Burton, senior area manager at the HCA, said: “We can confirm that Hyde Housing Association has started work at the Heritage site in Chichester.
“It is great news as the scheme will provide much-needed affordable housing and is a key priority for the area.
“It is no secret that this project has seen delays so the fact that it is now underway is testament to the hard work and perseverance of all those involved in the development.”
A spokeswoman for CDC chose not to comment on the update on the site.