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New homes torn down by bulldozers over problems with foundations

Diggers have moved on to the site and some of the properties have already been reduced to rubble

Maira Butt
Thursday 18 January 2024 18:16 GMT
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Dozens of homes will be demolished in an operation that is said to be costing millions of pounds
Dozens of homes will be demolished in an operation that is said to be costing millions of pounds (Joe Giddens/PA Wire)

Dozens of newbuild homes on an estate said to be worth £40m have started being torn down due to faulty foundations.

Darwin Green, less than two miles from the centre of the prestigious university city, is still under construction and has outline approval for just under 1,600 new homes.

Problems first came to light in June 2023, when developers Barratt and David Wilson said they had “discovered issues with the design of some of the foundations” of some properties during phase two of construction of the estate.

In a letter to residents that month, the developers said that “some of the properties which require demolition had been reserved by our customers”. They said that customers had been offered a “range of options and support”.

“We sincerely apologise for any negative impact this situation may have on you and we are fully committed to minimising any impact of the remedial work as much as we possibly can,” the letter added.

Diggers moved on to the site on Thursday and some of the properties have already been reduced to rubble.

The demolition process is expected to take 12 weeks and is thought to cost millions of pounds (Joe Giddens/PA Wire)

In an application to Cambridge City Council last year, the developers suggested “circa 83 units” could be demolished due to faulty foundations. However, in a statement this week they reported that 36 properties would be demolished with “remediation” to be undertaken on a further 47 plots.

The demolition process is expected to take 12 weeks and is thought to cost millions of pounds, while water cannons are being used to reduce the amount of dust, according to the Cambridge Independent.

Water cannons are being used to reduce the amount of dust (PA)
Problems first came to light last year when a issues were discovered with the foundations (PA)

A statement published on the website for the newbuild estate said Barratt and David Wilson received approval for the phased demolition of a number of homes at Darwin Green.

“To provide clarification, 36 homes currently at the roof stage of construction are scheduled for demolition and in addition to this, remediation will be undertaken on a further 47 plots, each at different stages of partial construction,” the statement said.

The developers said they remain “committed to ensuring that mitigation measures are in place to ensure that there is as little impact as possible to residents and the environment”.

The demolition comes at the same time as a public inquiry continues over the non-determination of plans for more than 1,000 homes at Darwin Green, after councils said they had not seen evidence that water could be sustainably supplied to the site.

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