Question mark over controversial new Hastings housing development after builder goes into administration

Plans for homes on a Hastings playing field have been thrown into uncertainty after the house building company went into administration.
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The 140 homes on the Harrow Lane playing fields were approved by Hastings Borough Council in March 2022 after a strong local protest.

Ilke Homes was to have built the homes in Yorkshire and transported them to Hastings. However, Clare Kennedy, partner and managing director at consultancy AlixPartners has confirmed the firm had gone into administration.

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A statement published by AlixPartners said the move would see the “immediate closure” of the firm’s factory in North Yorkshire, with an end to “all site activities”. It means that the “significant majority” of the firm's 1,150 staff will be made redundant. The move followed Ilke’s decision earlier this month to stop production at its factory and begin looking for a buyer.

Residents fear this development site at Harrow Lane will become an eye-soreResidents fear this development site at Harrow Lane will become an eye-sore
Residents fear this development site at Harrow Lane will become an eye-sore

A spokesperson from Hastings Borough Council said: “Hastings Borough Council has received the full cash consideration for the site. As we have sold the land, the council has no contractual involvement.

“Orbit, who now owns the site, views Hastings as a key development area and has confirmed that they are fully committed to getting this scheme delivered as soon as possible. As this is a critical site for Hastings which is forecast to deliver much-needed new affordable housing, the council will continue to stay in close contact with Orbit as they review delivery options.”

The latest news has been met with a furious reaction from protestors living in the area, who say the land should never have been sold by Hastings Council in the first place.

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Resident Vanessa Biddiss described the situation as ‘a travesty’ and said: “I know how personally this has affected many residents living in the local area. The land they sold had a covenant that protected the area for the residents of Hastings and St Leonards in perpetuity. We are now left with an eyesore.” She feared the site could ‘sit unfinished for years to come’.

The Harrow Lane developmentThe Harrow Lane development
The Harrow Lane development

She added: "The impact on a greenfield space was huge , fitness groups, football, athletic activities all affected. Including a local blind couple who had their assistance dogs taken away from them as they had no where safe to walk them once the field was fenced off."The field should be reclaimed by the council and put back to a much loved green space, in fact their own policy now states they won’t build on greenspaces.”