Published: 05:00, 24 October 2021
| Updated: 12:34, 25 October 2021
Londoners are eyeing up homes on the transformed site of a former bus depot – as a fifth of the properties have already been snapped up.
The shell of the £20 million regeneration of the former Stagecoach base in Herne Bay High Street has been erected, with scaffolding and hoardings at the new-look site.
This is despite the developer behind the ambitious scheme, Guildmore Lts, being hampered by expensive setbacks caused by supply chain issues.
The delay – which has impacted the delivery of bricks, blocks, sand and cement – has also meant that house-builder Guildmore Ltd has had to fork thousands of pounds more on building materials.
Divisional director Stephen Jelley told KentOnline: “It’s been caused by a lack of HGV drivers, and the factories need to get back up to speed.
“The whole industry’s experiencing labour shortages. It’s hurting everyone.
“We’re experiencing price increases on building materials – but it’s not something that’s going to blight the development.
“We’re on course to complete in March, April next year. It’s delayed us by a few months.”
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has warned that construction prices are set to rise by 10% over the next 12 months, as supplies struggle to keep pace with increasing workloads.
Bus operator Stagecoach moved out of the town centre site in 2016, ahead of its relocation to a new base in Eddington the following year.
Herne Bay developer Anthony Leggatt was given the green light by city council chiefs to replace the dishevelled depot with 21 cottages, 29 flats and 900 sq m of retail space in 2018.
The following summer he retired and sold the land to London-based Guildmore, which hoped to start work on the eyesore site – named Bay Square – in early 2020.
“There’s been loads of interest. We’re already 20% sold, and it’s all going well,” Mr Jelley continued.
“Due to Covid we’ve had a lot out out-of-towners and downsizers from apartments in South London boroughs looking to move to Kent where there’s more space.
“Half of our buyers are local and the other half are downsizers. It shows the market is very strong in Herne Bay – it’s a hotspot.”
Properties on the in-demand plot have been marketed for prices ranging from £230,000 to £410,000.
Mr Jelley believes the last of them will be bought by next summer, adding “it may even be quicker than that”.
“Half of our buyers are local and the other half are downsizers..."
He also says he is in talks with an independent business interested in taking on the high street shop space.
“The site is looking good,” Mr Jelley added.
“I’ll be glad when we get the brickwork done on the High Street because that will make a major impact and really liven the area.”