A couple’s dream of buying their first home together through the Help to Buy scheme has been crushed following a series of incidents that have caused delays at a “nightmare” building site.
Sophie Strong and her partner Luke Taylor were hoping the new house would be the perfect place to raise their two-year-old daughter, Aurora.
Sophie, 28, and Luke, 27, first put a deposit on a plot in a development at Gaskell Gardens in Southey Green, Sheffield, back in 2021, Yorkshire Live reports.
That had been possible through a Help to Buy scheme loan that would only become available if the property was legalled completed by March 31.
There were then a number of issues on the site and, after a key contractor went into administration last month, Sheffield Housing Company was forced to break the news to the family that their plot would not be ready before the deadline.
The company said it was “enormously upset” that it had been unable to complete the work in time for a number of purchasers.
Sophie said: “We got the extension to the Help to Buy and they were pretty sure now that we were going to be able to get it done and over the line in time.
“We got to the stage where we were picking out new flooring again because it had been so long since it was first sorted that it had gone out of stock.
“When you are doing bits like that it really starts to feel like it is coming together and it will happen for you.
“Everything then went quiet for a little while so I decided to email in for an update.
“That was when they told us that the contractor they had brought in, National Energy, had gone bust and they were bringing another company in.
“With that, it meant they had to redraw their own plans and the new contractor wanted to started from scratch, they can’t just pick up where the last one had left off.
“Sheffield Housing Company tried everything they could to help, they offered us a deposit contribution and effectively asked us to name the number that we would need.
“But when we went back to the mortgage broker again, with how much everything has increased, there just wasn’t a way for us to make it work.
“The whole thing has been up and down and up and down, a rollercoaster of emotions.
“I’ve got to say the developers have been good to us even though things ended like they did.
“We’re getting all of our money back and they’ve offered to cover the solicitors fees which after talking to people in a similar position with other developers, you are lucky to get a deposit back.
“It definitely feels like the whole thing was cursed.”
Project Director at Sheffield Housing Company, Steve Birch said: “Sheffield Housing Company and its partners have worked extremely hard to try to overcome technical issues on site, however in the end with a key contractor going into administration, we were forced to advise some purchasers that we would not be able to complete their home in time before the Help to Buy deadline at the end of March.
“We have communicated throughout with the purchasers, and have developed a detailed knowledge of, and sympathy for, each of their unique circumstances, and it upsets us enormously to have not been able to deliver the homes that they have invested so much time, money and emotion into.
“We know that this experience will have been hardest for our customers, and we can only hope that they are able to find a new home elsewhere in the near future, and we wish them all the very best in that next chapter of their lives.”
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