Midlothian MP calls for building trade scrutiny after Stewart Milne collapse

Tuesday January 16th 2024

Owen Thompson Midlothian MP

Midlothian MP, Owen Thompson.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Midlothian’s MP has called for more scrutiny of the construction industry after communities were left ‘in limbo’ by the collapse of a major house builder.

Owen Thompson says the uncertainty caused by the news Stewart Milne Homes has gone into administration is a blow for councils across Scotland.

In Midlothian, as reported in Midlothian View last week (Councils face housing chaos after developer collapse), the news means work has stopped on 28 council homes due to be delivered as part of the new town of Shawfair, with the local authority saying it does not know when or if it will restart.

Mr Thompson said already cash-strapped councils across Scotland were braced for the financial blow as they grapple with the fallout from the administration of house builder Stewart Milne.

Unfinished council homes, unadopted roads, and snagging issues are just some of the problems that local authorities may now have to deal with in the wake of Stewart Milne’s collapse.

The MP said the impact was being felt across his constituency already.

He said: “This is a major blow for Midlothian. There is now a real sense of uncertainty over a contract for 28 affordable homes in the Shawfair development, which had been undertaken in partnership with Stewart Milne Group.

“This is an absolute mess. People have lost their jobs and other may lose their homes. Now, with the firm’s administration, we don’t even know if those homes will ever be built.”

Stewart Milne Homes announced it had entered administration last week with work on construction sites coming to a halt almost immediately.

With Midlothian Council revealing it’s contract with the firm to deliver affordable homes at Shawfair was now in doubt, neighbouring East Lothian Council also said it was preparing additional costs.

A spokesperson for East Lothian Council said it was in talks with administrators in relation to roads and infrastructure work which may be outstanding at recently completed housing.

Mr Thompson said the collapse of the company calls into question the obligations all developers have to local communities.

He said: “It’s deeply concerning that our local authorities are left in the lurch like this.

“Families in our communities are affected and it’s the responsibility of those who ran this company to step up and ensure these issues are resolved promptly.

“The collapse of Stewart Milne has thrown into question many firms obligations to local communities.

“There needs to be greater accountability and transparency in the construction industry. We need answers and support for the communities left in limbo.”

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