Homeless builders kicked out of site

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Construction workers on a site in Leighton Buzzard were left unpaid and squatting on site after a building firm went bust.

Vantage Design and Build hired the group of nine men to carry out ground work at the former RAF Stanbridge site at Swales Drive.

For months, the men – all from Portsmouth – toiled on the building site but work came to a sudden halt when Vantage went into administration early last month.

Peter Taylor said: “Since that happened, no-one is speaking to us. We’ve asked over and over when we’re getting paid and we’ve heard nothing.”With no instructions from their employer, the men remained in their ‘bunkabins’ – portable accomodation – at Swales Drive. Some found odd jobs at a site nearby.

Mr Taylor said the group had been recruited by Vantage while in Portsmouth.

“We were promised a couple of years’ work here as ground workers and came up from Portsmouth.

“Some of the guys gave up their homes to come here and they’ve been left homeless because of how Vantage have treated us.”

The site is now in the possession of Catalyst Housing Association.

On Friday, a security firm hired by CHA arrived and ordered the men off site.

Mr Taylor said: “We’ve been living here and now they’ve put up extra security refusing us access to get our gear. It’s getting worse. They are stamping all over us.”

It is understood the men have since been allowed to collect their belongings.

A spokesman from CHA said: “Since taking possession of the site we have employed a security company to keep it safe and ensure it remains in a condition ready for the resumption of building.

“As part of this process we have discovered that some contractors were staying on the site overnight without our permission, and in response we have installed new locks to prevent this happening.

“These security measures are an important part of fulfilling our legal responsibilities as the owner of the site.”