Families 'trapped' as 'dream homes' on Tipton estate become a 'nightmare' after developer goes bust

People who have moved onto a Black Country estate expecting their dream homes are facing a "living nightmare" after the developer collapsed, an MP has said.

West Bromwich West MP Shaun Bailey
West Bromwich West MP Shaun Bailey

Aurora Living Limited was in the process of building the Alexandra Grange development, in Tipton, when they fell into administration and were dissolved.

But this meant the development was left "incomplete" without the promised funding needed – but after the properties were snapped up and residents had moved in.

It meant residents on the estate, off Alexandra Road, were stuck with poor roads, broken sewers and faulty street-lights, which also made them unable to sell their homes – leaving them "trapped".

Shaun Bailey, MP for West Bromwich West, has called for an overhaul of the system to ensure people are protected and the issues they face are properly prevented.

Writing on CounterCut, the MP said: "Aurora Living Limited was a housing developer in the process of building the Alexandra Grange development within my constituency when they fell into administration and were subsequently dissolved. This meant the company left an incomplete development without the promised funding, but after properties had been purchased and residents had moved in.

"These residents were then left stuck with an incomplete housing estate, un-adoptable roads, broken sewers and with faulty streetlights. Residents of Alexandra Grange have moved into the estate expecting their dream home only to find out their community was a living nightmare. All these problems make it impossible for residents to sell their homes leaving them trapped."

Companies House said the firm, based in Birmingham, had moved to appoint a voluntary liquidator as of March last year and the company started to be wound up in February this year.

Aurora Living Limited was in charge of the Tipton development and had also received planning permission for 238 homes on land off Hall Green, West Bromwich, in 2020.

Mr Bailey said the crisis was "entirely predictable" as he alleged the company had a "track record of missing and poor-quality remedial works" – and they had failed to cough up the planning obligations, known as Section 106 agreements.

"A sensible planning system would build in safeguards to prevent forgotten infrastructure and would never have given these developers a chance to make another mess," he said.

The MP added Ministers are taking steps to fix some of these problems with the S106 obligation being revamped to avoid developers paying the funds late, or not at all.

He added: "Tackling the effect of developers’ bankruptcies on the residents living in incomplete homes is more challenging. One possible solution would be a cross industry insurance fund, where-by developers contribute a small sum after the sale of each new build house with this money being paid out to residents in the event their developer files for bankruptcy before completing a development.

"With over 250,000 houses being built per year, only a meagre contribution would be enough to provide assurance to every new homebuyer that they would be safe if their developer goes under. Government could also look to fine or limit companies that consistently fail to fulfil their obligations to new tenants so companies such as Aurora Living Limited are not able to continue to build a portfolio of failure."

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