Further to my visit to Silverstone at the end of July, where I had the opportunity to speak with a number of residents on the new Silverstone Leys development about their concerns, and my subsequent letter to Bovis Homes on their behalf, I have now had a response from their West Midlands Managing Director Paul Stafford.
I am encouraged by his response, and am pleased that Bovis appears to have taken swift action to replace site management staff who have clearly not been focused on resolving issues and concerns that were put to them.
However, I am aware that residents do have a number of outstanding concerns about individual properties. Please do write to me if you would like me to take them up with Paul for you, and do let me know if the construction traffic issue has not abated.
Dear Mrs Leadsom,
Thank you for your recent letter to Michael Stirrop in relation to your constituents at our Silverstone site. A copy of this letter has been passed to me, as Managing Director of the Bovis Homes West Midlands region, with responsibility for the Silverstone site, for response. Please accept my apologies for the delay in response, I have been away on annual leave, and have only just returned.
Initially, I would like to reassure you that I was aware of the concerns raised by yourself on behalf of your constituents. Bovis Homes strives to provide high quality homes to our customers. In some instances however, there are a higher number of remedial items required in the home after our customers take occupation than we would deem acceptable. At Silverstone, this has clearly been the case with a number of customers who moved into their homes in 2016 and 2017.
Our Silverstone site has suffered from a higher than expected turnover of Bovis employed staff since the site started in 2016, and particularly in the past 12 months. Two site managers have been replaced in the past 12 months due to underperformance, and in particular due to a lack of focus on resolution of issues raised by customers. This is the primary reason for delays in resolving issues with some of your constituents. I am delighted to confirm that we have recently employed a new site team, who have started on site in the past few months. Our new site manager, Peter Carr, comes with an excellent reputation from Barratts David Wilson, and will be supported by our Assistant Site Manager, Chris Martin. I have visited the site several times since mid-July, including today, and have been very impressed with the progress that is being made in resolving customer concerns. I have expressed the importance of this to the whole team, and their managers, who understand fully.
It is difficult to address specific customer concerns here, but I would like to give you confidence that all issues that have been raised to the site team, or our Customer Care team, are being reviewed and resolved, if required. Our site team have tried to contact all customers who have raised concerns with us.
In relation to the point you raise about construction traffic driving through the development, I am happy to state that we have now opened a new entrance, solely for the use of construction traffic, at the top of the site. There is a clear divide between occupied areas of the site and construction areas, and we have locked gates to prevent access from one to the other. Occasionally, delivery drivers use the wrong entrance and drive through occupied areas, but these instances are reducing all the time, as drivers are becoming aware of the new dedicated entrance for construction traffic.
In relation to the point you raise that certain residents have concerns that their homes are not built in accordance with building regulations, I would state that all our homes are built in accordance with the NHBC requirements. These include technical requirements, performance standards and guidance for the design and construction of new homes. NHBC inspectors have carried out inspections of all homes at our Silverstone development at key stages during their construction to check compliance with the NHBC Standards. All the homes completed at Silverstone have received full sign-off by the NHBC.
Please be assured that we are committed to delivering high quality homes and excellent service for all our customers at Bovis Homes in the West Midlands region. They are at the centre of everything we do and they are supported by a two-year guarantee from us, and a 10-year buildmark warranty from the NHBC. We are, of course, acutely aware that purchasing a new property is a major investment – both financial and emotional. Customers rightly want everything to be perfect in their new home from the moment they walk through the door and we do our utmost to meet that expectation every time. However, homes are not built in factories and sometimes there can be ‘snagging’ items. In such circumstances our policy is to resolve these issues as efficiently as possible under the terms of our guarantee, communicating closely with our customers to manage their expectations as we do so. I acknowledge this hasn’t happened as effectively as I would have liked at Silverstone, but am confident that my new team on site are focusing on resolving these issues as their number one priority. I am regularly updated with progress that is being made.
I trust this response helps to clarify your queries and gives you comfort that Bovis Homes cares passionately about our customers and our development in your South Northamptonshire constituency.