Work starts again on former Merrydown site in Horam

Work on the Merrydown site in Horam has restarted after weeks of delay
Work on the Merrydown site in Horam has restarted after weeks of delay

Work on a major development in Horam has re-started after the original building contractor went into liquidation. The scheme will incorporate 59 homes and live work units.

The site was formerly the home of the Merrydown cider and fruit wines production plant. Diggers, demolition and construction teams moved into the area from early June last year. Construction began but then locals noticed no progress was being made.

Steve Knott, director of developers Beech Merrydown, said: “Our main contractor went into liquidation and work stopped in May. I am pleased to say the scheme is now up and running again.

“Everything else about the scheme remains the same.

“We hope to have completed all work by August 2017. We are solely the developers and I must emphasise everyone was fully paid.

“We are very pleased to have re-started and our former sub-contractors remain on the site.”

Villagers are pleased that the scheme has re-started after living with what they dubbed ‘a bomb site’ for several months.

A great deal of archaeological work had to be done on the site before excavation and building could start.

It will be transformed into a small housing scheme with business units.

District councillor Sue Stedman said: “We are particularly happy that plans to include the business units were not jeopardised during the planning process.

“We look forward to welcoming new residents and businesses to Horam.

“It was a shame that the scheme had encountered several problems but we are pleased things are moving ahead again.”

The site had been vacant since 2004. It was earmarked for housing development, formerly by David Wilson Homes and then more recently Redrow Homes (South East) – the company which undertook the lion’s share of the demolition.

The first application was for 92 homes but that was opposed by both the Horam Parish and Wealden District councils. Finally an application for 59 homes and live-work units was approved.

District’s standardised requirement for affordable housing was originally contested under former applications, but Mr Knott now confirms that original number of affordable properties will be included in spite of the fact that there is no legal requirement for them to do so.

The affordable provision was removed during discussions with planners but Beech Merrydown decided to continue with proposals to build the number first requested.

Of the 59 new units, 17 will fit that category.