THE managing director of a development company which is constructing a newbuild estate near Andover has spoken out about the difficulties the industry is facing after a couple are still waiting to move into their property nearly a year after purchasing it.

Mark Fitzpatrick of Cleanslate Ltd, which is responsible for a number of developments across the south east including at St Mary’s Hill in Hurstbourne Priors, has said the company is facing shortages in staff and products, as well as soaring costs.

Harvey and Nicole Baines, who are currently renting a property in Augusta Park, Andover, hit out at the company as they feel there have been “undelivered promises” over their expected move in date.

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The couple, who are aged 27 and 30, moved to the area from Somerset after Harvey took a job as an area manager for Amazon. They wanted to be closer to Nicole’s family in Basingstoke as they begin thinking about starting a family.

Andover Advertiser: Harvey and Nicole BainesHarvey and Nicole Baines

Hoping for a property which gave them the best of both worlds, the pair began house hunting around Whitchurch, St Mary Bourne and Hurstbourne Priors. They saw the planned three-bedroom, end terrace property at St Mary’s Hill in July 2021, and quickly put down a 20 per cent deposit.

Harvey said: “The location was just kind of perfect. We fell in love with the design, they are new builds but they look in keeping with the surrounding area as well.”

The initial move-in date given was January 2022 but when, on exchange of contracts in December, the house was “no where near finished” Harvey prepared himself for a delay.

Since the initial postponement to March, the move in date has been pushed back four further times, and is currently August 22 - more than a year after they first saw the site.

Harvey said: “The emotional and financial strain this is taking on us both is heartbreaking. We are unable to plan our lives as, monthly, the goal posts are being moved. We have had to reapply at great expense for another mortgage as our last offer expired and we have had to revoke notice on our rental property countless times now.”

Harvey and Nicole say communication from the developer has been poor, and feel they deserve an apology and some acknowledgment of the inconvenience.

“Every single time there has been an issue we have to contact them, they aren’t forthcoming with information,” said Harvey.

He continued: “It’s becoming a joke now.

“What should have been an exciting and happy time for us both has just been utterly sapped of all emotion.”

However, while making clear he would not wish to discuss the specifics of any individual purchasers, Mr Fitzpatrick of Cleanslate clarified that the legal longstop completion date for the plot is October 30 2022.

He added: “We will be handing over the unit considerably earlier than that longstop. We would of course have wished to hand over units at the earliest possible date but regrettably we, like all other housebuilders, are suffering with labour and material shortages as well as inflation busting price hikes.”

Making further reference to the struggle housebuilders face in the current economic and political climate, Mr Fitzpatrick continued: “The National Association of Home Builders have confirmed that in 2021 90% of builders have reported delays and materials shortages.

“The shortages are due to many reasons including the stoppage of manufacture during the recent pandemic, shipping problems across the world, lack of HGV drivers and of course soaring demand as the world reopened after the pandemic. The tragic war in Ukraine adds to the shortages of both materials and labour as their brave citizens return home to fight for their country.

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“Despite all of the above, and thanks to the hard work of our planning and buying departments, as well as the diligent work of our sub contractors, we are able to hand over our homes within our contractual dates and we will continue to do so.”

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