Works to a controversial £4.5m development in Weymouth due to provide 'much-needed housing' have ground to a halt.

A local councillor says the unfinished scheme to build 31 much-needed affordable homes on the site of the former Marchesi House complex in Radipole Lane, Southill, is 'massively disappointing'.

Marchesi House was demolished last year to make way for a new development of 31 homes, including 13 one-bedroom flats, 12 two-bedroom houses, six three-bedroom houses and 38 parking spaces.

Elderly residents living in the sheltered housing complex were given notice to leave by site owner Bournemouth Churches Housing Association (BCHA).

But due to a significant increase in the cost of building material and labour, the main contractor was unable to deliver the scheme at the agreed price.

Dorset Echo: Marchesi redevelopmentMarchesi redevelopment (Image: NQ)

The contractor completed some of the works to the site including the demolition and sewer diversion in November 2022 before handing back the site.

Now BCHA is re-tendering the scheme and working to secure a replacement contractor.

Lorraine Mealings, CEO of BCHA, said: “BCHA is still very committed to delivering much needed new housing on the Marchesi House site.

“We are currently working to secure a replacement contractor to help us deliver these new homes, but this is taking longer than expected due to the current challenges facing the construction sector. 

“We will update local residents when we are in a position to confirm details relating to this development; in the meantime, we appreciate the community’s patience and understanding.”

A large pile of rubble currently resides on the site, which is enclosed by fencing.

Dorset Echo: Marchesi House DevelopmentMarchesi House Development (Image: NQ)

Councillor Pete Barrow, a councillor for both Dorset Council and Weymouth Town Council, said: “It’s massively disappointing that nothing has happened and leaving it as it is, is the worst thing of all.

“Just get on with it. The longer they leave it, the more inflation is going to go up.

“With all this getting rushed through and then nothing happens. It’s frustrating for me and everybody.”

Marchesi House was pulled down after its elderly residents were moved out and is to be replaced with social housing, with the majority of its new tenants being drawn from the general housing waiting list, while seven of the properties will be sold under shared ownership schemes.

Dorset Echo: Marchesi House DevelopmentMarchesi House Development (Image: NQ)

More than 200 people objected to the scheme amid fears about the risk from extra traffic to children attending the nearby primary school and a new access from Rowan Close, as well as over-development.