Questions over RAF Stanbridge estate as building firm collapses

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A question mark has been raised over the future of a half-finished estate in Leighton Buzzard – after a building firm went into administration.

Vantage Design and Build was contracted to carry out building work on the former RAF Stanbridge site at Swales Drive, which is being developed for a new estate of 175 homes.

Planning permission was granted in February 2015 and Vantage was engaged by developers Inland Homes to carry out the site’s construction work.

But as Vantage went into administration two weeks ago, all work to the site has came to an abrupt halt.

A resident told the LBO: “We first noticed that all the builders had stopped turning up weeks ago.

“We haven’t seen anyone on the building site in a long time and it’s basically just been left unfinished.”

It was reported Vantage and Inland Homes had been locked in a pay dispute lasting several months.

In May, Vantage ceased work on four new developments after claiming Inland owed them £4.2m in construction costs.

But Stephen Wicks, Inland Homes chief executive, told the Construction Enquirer in May: “We have made advance payments beyond original contract sums and about six weeks ago decided enough was enough and decided to administer contracts.

“We are now seeking to finish the jobs ourselves.”

The collapse of Vantage has led to 60 jobs being axed with subcontractors allegedly seeking payments owed.

Meanwhile, the incomplete site at Swales Drive has now come under the ownership of Catalyst Housing Association.

A spokeman for Catalyst said: “Since our builder Vantage Homes informed us that they had gone into voluntary administration we have been exploring with them how to resume the work.

“In the meantime we have taken possession of the site, which we own, and there is now 24-hour security to ensure the site is safe and remains ready for work to resume as soon as possible.

“We are actively looking at the options for getting the homes built and made available.”

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