Kevin McCloud apologises for delays in housing project

TV property guru Kevin McCloud has apologised over “delays and problems” a property firm he set up has encountered with a building project.

The Grand Designs presenter said there had been “project overruns” on a site in Kings Worthy, Hampshire, which is being developed by Happiness Architecture Beauty (HAB), a company he set up in 2007.

Mr McCloud’s firm issued a statement on Saturday in response to a story in the Hampshire Chronicle newspaper which claimed a local Liberal Democrat newsletter reported work had been “paused” at the site.

The statement said a “Brexit-fuelled construction crisis” had hit the industry, causing soaring construction costs and a shortage of skilled workers.

McCloud said: “As an SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) housebuilder, we’ve been hit hard by rocketing costs and a construction skills crisis – both of which are being exacerbated by Brexit uncertainty and the fall in the pound.

“Of course Brexit is absolutely no excuse for the poor service residents have received and I am close to striking a deal to bring new partners whose expertise and financial backing will enable HAB to deliver something we can be proud of.

“I am hopeful of being able to make that announcement very shortly.”

According to HAB’s website their development of the site in Kings Worthy, which is near Winchester, would incorporate “wildflower meadows, allotments, green spaces, and facilities for the whole community to enjoy, as well as a range of custom-build homes to suit the varying lifestyles of residents”.

McCloud said: “I’m personally very sorry for the delays and problems caused.

“Things haven’t been done quickly enough. I share our residents’ frustrations and am putting a plan in place to fix them.”

The statement claimed that “rising costs and problems securing the right contractors” led to the delays at the Kings Worthy site, which is due to include 40% affordable housing.

The construction sector “has been failing for decades”, McCloud said, adding that the uncertainty caused by “Brexit chaos has simply made things worse”.

Mr McCloud added: “I am absolutely determined that my own business, HAB, will come through its current challenges.

“But for the sake of thousands of other SME builders, the Prime Minister has to offer some assurances and act now.”

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