Urban Splash pulls out of Chimney Pot Park

URBAN Splash is handing over construction of the last phase of its high profile Chimney Pot Park scheme in Salford to Great Places Housing Association.

Chimney Pot Park was launched in 2006 to great fanfare and involved the remodelling of neglected terraced streets in Langworthy as “upside down” homes with the bedrooms on the ground floor.

A report to the deputy city mayor’s office says Urban Splash has failed to deliver the last phase, which consists of 18 houses and a development plot, and the poor condition of the site is “attracting considerable local criticism”.

The developer, which has won awards for the scheme, owes the city £505,000 which was due to be paid as houses were sold. It has lined up Great Places to take it on and the council is willing to accept a lesser amount of £463,000 as it “reflects the cash flow advantages of an early repayment”.

Urban Splash has agreed to pay a further £61,000 for re-adoption works at Fir Street which fronts the development plot. Great Places is expected to deliver 32 homes for “market rental properties/potential sale”. Affordable housing is not mentioned in the report.

The revamp was designed to restore confidence in central Salford’s housing market where the average house price was £10,000 in the late 1990s.

Urban Splash was heavily geared, with debts of more than £200m, when the recession hit. The business, led by Tom Bloxham, has spent the past year restructuring which has involved selling off large parts of its portfolio and relinquishing development sites, including plots in New Islington.

A spokesperson for Urban Splash said: “We have completed the 318 homes at Chimney Pot Park which formed our development agreement. This involved converting the existing Victorian terraces into multi-award winning and ground-breaking family homes.

“This plot in question is for new build housing. It is around 30 units and we have agreed with all partners including Salford City Council, The Homes & Communities Agency and Great Places, that given their current development projects immediately adjacent to the site, this would be an ideal plot for Great Places to develop, adding to the mix of housing typology in the area.”