Is now the right time for Epsom’s Residents’ Association (RA) council to be demolishing the Wells Social Centre to build a block of 23 flats? Ian Strutt writes: not according to the building trades. They reveal that companies are beset by problems caused by Brexit – from a reduced availability of Eastern European construction workers to a lack of building materials now fast rising in price.
The Guardian’s Zoe Wood reports that “a growing shortage of key construction materials could delay house building this year as builders fight for fresh supplies against a backdrop of coronavirus-related challenges and price increases.”
John Newcomb, chief executive of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), is quoted in The Guardian as stating that, if the problems were not resolved, it could “have an impact on the number of houses that we are able to build in the U.K.”
He reports shortages of roof tiles, bathroom suites and plumbing materials. Also part of the problem is the sudden congestion at British ports where, typically, ships from China laden with construction materials would unload. Brexit is to blame again!
Already, there is a shortage of skilled migrant workers from Eastern Europe. This can only get worse as the Government is merrily offering large sums of money to these vital workers to permanently leave the country. Why? And who will now help Build Back Better?
So, there could be a whole host of problems in store if the RA was to finally give itself planning approval for its flats plan. Construction could even go wildly over budget, then fail to make the “capital receipt” the RA is so desperate to bank.
The worst of all worlds could be for the Wells Centre to be demolished, then have these unwanted flats left as just an ugly, unfinished, skeleton blotting the Wells landscape.