HAB's Open Letter response to press reports on Applewood

HAB's Open Letter response to press reports on Applewood

Posted 31/07/15

A Statement by Mike Roberts, MD of HAB Housing

July 31st 2015

In the last few days a number of articles have appeared about construction problems at Applewood in Stroud, a housing scheme developed in partnership between GreenSquare Housing Group and HAB Housing.

Our initial response to this story was as follows;

HAB's partner at Applewood, GreenSquare Group, was responsible for the delivery of the scheme and we must defer to them to comment on the construction issues that have come to light since the development was completed. It’s clearly been a very frustrating time for the residents and we’re sorry that their experience has not been as good as it should have been.

However, we are pleased that a plan is in place that will resolve all of the outstanding issues, and we’ll continue to monitor the situation very closely.

 

Given that the story has grown, we now feel the need to comment further. The words that follow are not informed by fancy PR Agencies or expensive lawyers; they come solely and directly from the HAB Housing team.  

We have never sought to absolve ourselves of any of the issues that have arisen at Applewood, we care deeply about it and have spent huge amounts of time and energy in pushing for resolution. Against this backdrop the residents at Applewood have formed a fantastic, vibrant community; we salute them and will continue to support them. In spite of the short term issues, Applewood has great qualities and we are confident that it will be a much loved place for generations to come.

However the facts need to be stated;

  • HAB was not the building contractor for Applewood
  • HAB did not contract with the building contractor for Applewood
  • HAB has no legal relationship with the building contractor or any of their sub-contractors
  • HAB cannot therefore hold to account the professionals who made a blunder on the gas pipe routing or for any other defect

Unfortunately this position has meant that we have not had any power to manage the construction or deal with the problems that have arisen. We realised how uncomfortable this was some time ago and have put in place plans to wrest greater control. 

So on a more positive note, we decided to recruit our own construction team, so that we can act as our own contractor in the future. Never again will we allow ourselves to be in the position where we do not have control of the construction process.

Kevin McCloud is our non-executive Chairman-he inspires us with his brilliant design brain and his complete integrity.

We fully appreciate that our relationship with Kevin leaves us open to cheap shots, shabby journalism and attention-seeking MPs. Our belief is that one snag in a new building, is one too many and we are committed to developing an industry leading delivery process. However the current reality is that unfortunately in the UK building industry defects occur all the time and they are not generally newsworthy. Ever since a local paper ran a headline along the lines of ‘McCloud Causes Traffic Chaos’ under a photograph of a construction lorry outside our first partnership scheme with two cars waiting to pass, we knew what we were in for. Internet message boards are full of the naysayers, the cynics and the trolls, but all of this is petty nonsense.

HAB will not let any of this deflect us from our mission to deliver beautifully designed, highly sustainable places where people and communities can thrive. We have a dedicated and passionate core team of 14 people; we love what we do and we do what we do with love. We have talented consultants and advisers who have joined us in the challenge and we have 650 wonderful investors who stood out from the crowd to back us on our journey.

At a time when quality design is considered a luxury we can’t afford, when policies to protect our environment and fight climate change are considered green crap and when funding to house the most vulnerable in our society is being slashed, we believe that HAB is more important than ever. We’re on a mission - back us.

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