Stop Press Marina Development
Laing O’Rourke is the company which owns the options on the Marina regeneration area. Explore Living is its housing division, against which we put in objections at the Public Inquiry 2009. (see postings below)
The following clip reached us today :
Laing O’Rourke is to close down Explore Living, its housebuilding division, for at least two years, until it sees significant improvement in the housing market.
The division will build out all existing projects, but then mothball its land bank of 1,000 plots until there is a sustained recovery. Most staff will be retained,with only a handful of redundancies expected, but chairman Paul Healey and managing director Karl Pickering are to leave.
A spokesman for Laing O’Rourke said: “All future phases on these sites, plus development sites owned by Explore Living where construction work has not started, will be paused. Work will not recommence until consumer confidence returns to the UK housing market, and greater certainty exists regarding the sales prospects for these developments. We expect this period of inactivity to extend for a minimum of two years as the government’s austerity measures and the scarcity of mortgage lending continue to suppress housing demand.”
“Longer term, the group remains confident around the strength of the current development portfolio, with sites located in desirable areas across the south east, which we consider to have potential to grow in value as the housing market recovers. As projects complete on their current phases of work, Explore Living employees will be transferred onto other projects elsewhere within the group where it is feasible for them to do so. However, an unfortunate consequence will be that a small number of redundancies will result from this decision, although we will seek to minimise the impact on affected individuals to the greatest extent possible,” the spokesman added.