Since the consultation in summer 2015, RHP and Richmond Council considered feedback from those that took part and met with many local groups and organisations to understand their views on the future of Ham Close.
As a result of resident and community groups' comments, a series of design workshops were held in June and July 2016. A summary of the feedback from over 150 residents in Ham and Petersham has been published online. To read more, please click here.
A further consultation took place in autumn 2016. During this period, Ham Close residents and members of the local community were invited to have their say on the proposed redevelopment of Ham Close. The consultation proposal can be found here.
RHP has been working with the Council to progress the redevelopment of Ham Close and had hoped to have signed the legal agreements and started the 2nd stage of the selection of a Development Partner in January 2019.
However, a recent legal case concerning a development agreement between a contractor and a local council in Berkshire – the Faraday case – has highlighted potential implications on both the approach which RHP is taking to procure a Development Partner, and therefore the form of legal agreements required between RHP and the Council. (For more information on the Faraday case click here)
At the stakeholder reference group on 5th February 2019 we advised a potential delay of circa 3 months due to this issue, if we were able to proceed with the current procurement.
As this is the first case of its kind, the implications for RHP and the Council have been considered carefully. Legal advice sought by RHP and the Council outlined that it is important that we spend time getting this right now, so that there are not further delays later in the process. Whilst disappointed, the Council remains fully informed and is working closely with RHP to identify the steps that need to be taken.
This latest legal advice received has informed us that the only prudent way to proceed with Ham Close is to re-start the procurement process to secure the development partner. RHP Board considered this approach on 14th March and, whilst very much frustrated by this latest development, approved this approach.
As a result of the above issue, there is unfortunately now going to be further delay to the previously published programme. At this stage we anticipate this additional delay will mean that we will start on site in Autumn 2020, with initial planning engagement with residents and the community in Spring 2020.
The Council and RHP are both very disappointed that this is the situation. However, there is a duty to comply with the emerging procurement law and balance commercial risks. The situation would be much worse if RHP proceeded with the current procurement, let the contract, and it was subsequently disavowed.
There is some work to do to develop how RHP will procure a new partner and RHP will issue a more detailed programme once this work has been completed. We are very sorry for this further delay, we would however like to re confirm our commitment to delivering a successful regeneration of the Ham Close estate, with exemplar architecture, public realm and new community facilities.
We would like to reassure our residents that maintenance of the estate will be continued whilst we await the redevelopment of the estate and that RHP will continue to be present to address any concerns you may have at our regular surgeries on the estate – look out for the timing of these in the resident newsletter.