We bought our £515K dream home on a new-build estate to give the best life for our kids… but the developers won’t even start building the school they promised until at least 2027
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Young families who moved to a luxury new-build estate in hope of sending their children to schools within walking distance are furious after learning they are not set to open for at least another five years.
New property owners who splashed out up to £515,000 on their ‘dream home’ last summer told MailOnline they are now facing a ‘nightmare’ after discovering schools promised by developers’ have not even begun construction.
In flashy online adverts and a sparkling brochure, Bovis Homes’ advertised plans to have ‘schooling for all ages, including two primary schools, a secondary school and two nurseries’ on the Whiteley Meadows estate in Hampshire – catching the eye of many expecting and young parents.
‘Ripped off’ families have now blamed the developer for being ‘clever and misleading’ by not making it clear new schools had yet to be built and work won’t start on them until 2027.
Some claim they only found out the schools were non-existent when they tried to enrol their kids for the following September after their sale went through and were handed a move in date.
Other incensed parents on the sprawling estate, that will eventually see 3,500 houses built, hit out at underdeveloped infrastructure on the estate in Curbridge, near Southampton, such as public transport and lack of footpaths.
Meanwhile an interactive map to help residents ‘discover the new neighbourhood’ on the developer’s website reveals the lack of schools, doctor’s surgeries, and shopping facilities currently within the estate’s immediate vicinity.
The developers say it was not suggested the schools were already open and the timing of the delivery of the schools is not within the control of any of the housebuilders within the consortium
Danielle Jenvey, 36, forked out £375,000 with her husband in July last year for their three-bedroom detached house hoping that their first home ‘would have everything we would ever need as a young family’.
Mrs Jenvey told MailOnline they moved to the estate ‘specifically for our children’ to give their 11-year-old daughter Olivia the independence of walking to a nearby school and being near to a nursery for their two-year-old son Jeffrey.
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By the time construction is complete, 3,500 new build homes are expected the Whiteley Meadows estate in Hampshire, along with several schools. Currently, the estate remains partially a construction site
Danielle Jenvey, 36, forked out £375,000 with her husband in July last year hoping to send her children to the new schools promised on the estate but realised construction will not start until 2027
Bovis Homes’ advertised plans to have ‘schooling for all ages, including two primary schools, a secondary school and two nurseries
Residents of the new build housing estate are furious
The concerned mother-of-two said: ‘It’s a lot of money on the first house we have ever bought.
‘It was two years of really hard work for what we thought was going to be our dream family home, but I have had all my time occupied for a year arranging schools.’
While no date was specifically given for the schools’ construction Mrs Jenvey thought the estate, advertised as an ‘impressive development’ would have at least begun construction on the school or may have even been completed.
On the developer’s website, under a page titled ‘Why Buy a Property at Whiteley Meadows?’, it clearly writes: ‘A wealth of local amenities right on your doorstep including schools for all ages.’
A second reason given by the developer for buying one of the pricey new builds read: ‘Superb location with fantastic transport links by road and easy access to the M27.’
Mrs Jenvey said the family had made it clear when discussing with estate agents that they wanted to buy the home because of the educational facilities and the ease of accessing the advertised amenities.
‘You read it and unless there are dates that say, ‘this will be built by then’, you don’t think it will be five, six or seven years away,’ she added.
‘When you say, ‘this is what we want it for’ they might pop up with ‘actually, that’s not been built yet’.
Danielle Jenvey’s family moved to the estate in the hope that her 11-year-old daughter Olivia (pictured together) and two-year-old son Jeffrey could start school nearby
Emma Bell, 34, also moved into her new detached home in July last year. She said she is ‘quite concerned about the secondary school’
The sprawling estate will eventually see 3,500 houses built
On the development’s website, it advertises Whiteley Meadows as having ‘schooling for all ages, including two primary schools, a secondary school and two nurseries’
‘Bovis were quite clever and misleading. They didn’t lie but they didn’t offer any truth – they did it very well. We made it clear that’s why we were buying.’
Mrs Jenvey said local schools for her daughter as well as eventually for her two-year-old son Jeffrey was the ‘whole reason’ they moved house.
‘We moved away from both of our families, thinking it would be what our family needed. My daughter wanted to be able to walk to school so that’s why we bought it.
‘That’s meant to be the joy of childhood – to be able to walk to school and get a bit more independence.
‘It wasn’t until the sale went through that we heard about the schools not being here. It’s been a year of hell to be honest.’
The family now feel ‘trapped’ in the home not being able to remortgage their house until next year.
She added: ‘Within the first two months I wanted to sell the house and move. We are going to look to remortgage from next July – July 2024 but until then we are financially locked in so we can’t afford to buy a house and move straight away. I feel like we are completely trapped.’
Mrs Jenvey went on to question the lack of bus services and footpaths in the area – which were also promised within development plans. She claimed that because of a lack of footpaths one family has to push their buggy along a ‘dangerous’ 40mph road to reach one of the primary schools closest to the estate.
When she queried why the bus routes were taking so long to complete, the infuriated mother said that a council worker told her the Covid pandemic had scuppered the plans.
‘If you can’t put a bus on because of Covid, how are you building thousands of houses?’ she questioned.
Construction work is ongoing at the new build estate in Curbridge, near Southampton
Under a page titled ‘Why Buy a Property at Whiteley Meadows?’, it clearly writes: ‘A wealth of local amenities right on your doorstep including schools for all ages’
A map on the developer’s website show’s the locations of the current schools surrounding the estate
There are a range of different homes available on the estate, including properties worth up to £551,000
Other parents have expressed similar concerns. Emma Bell, 34, also moved into her new detached home in July last year.
As she had lived locally beforehand, Mrs Bell was aware the primary school would not be built in time for her five-year-old son who just started Year 1 but was worried about the non-existent secondary school.
She said: ‘We are quite concerned about the secondary school. They haven’t even started building it. It’s estimated to start in 2027, so probably not open until 2029.
‘Public transport isn’t great either. I’d rather he could walk to school than rely on public transport or us.
‘Schools have all these initiatives to walk to school but if there’s no school that’s walkable you can’t do it anyway.’
The civil servant echoed Mrs Jenvey’s concerns about lack of footpath to Cornerstone Church of England Primary School and her desire for her son to have the option to walk.
‘We’ve seen people walking to Cornerstone along Botley Road with no path,’ she added. ‘It was ridiculously dangerous.’
Erin Hine, 32, has just seen her daughter start at Cornerstone, but luckily has a car meaning she’s never had to walk along the path-less road during the school run.
The mother-of-two, who also has a five-month-old baby boy, said she ‘hoped’ the secondary school on the estate would be open by the time her daughter is old enough to attend.
‘Schools were a massive thing about moving here,’ she said. ‘We thought and hope the secondary school would be opening on the estate – that was the plan. Otherwise, she’ll have to go to Henry Court, which is almost in Fareham.’
The North Whiteley development will eventually consist of 3,500 dwellings, two primary schools, a secondary school and other supporting infrastructure, including major highway works, a report earlier this year said
Outline planning permission was granted in July 2018 for 3,500 homes in North Whiteley
Chhavi Bartaria, 33, cannot drive but is too scared to walk her daughter, who is in reception, from the estate to school due to the lack of pavements.
The HR worker said: ‘We don’t walk. There are no pavements and it’s too dangerous with little ones.
‘They said there would be one primary school and one secondary school but we have no clue when that will be. It’s a concern.’
Mrs Jenvey called for no more houses to be built on the estate until the new local schools and other important facilities, such as more GP surgeries and dentists, are built.
She said: ‘I think they should not be able to sell the houses until there is a certain amount of infrastructure put in place.
‘They can’t sell houses then years later provide schools. Where are all these children meant to go?
‘I think it’s developer greed and the council to blame.’
One young mother, however, who wished to remain anonymous, blamed those who had moved to the area without researching the school situation thoroughly.
‘I would do my own research before moving somewhere,’ the mother-of-two said. I wouldn’t send my kids to a new school either.’
She said her family were pleased with the development, claiming ‘it’s really nice’.
‘It’s in between Portsmouth and Southampton – we’re quite happy here,’ she added.
In agreement, another anonymous mother-of-two primary school children said Bovis Homes never declared or promised anything about schools being built ‘at all’.
‘It’s just people buying the wrong houses,’ she said. ‘If they wanted a school on the grounds, they should have moved somewhere else.’
In a progress report published in February this year, it was announced: ‘The North Whiteley development will eventually consist of 3,500 dwellings, two primary schools, a secondary school and other supporting infrastructure, including major highway works.’
In March, Winchester City Council gave an update on the estate’s progress, writing that a playground on the estate was soon to be opened with another playground starting to be developed.
It also said work would commence to create a footpath and cycle path near to the ‘dangerous’ road next to Cornerstone School.
MailOnline has contacted Bovis Homes.
A spokesperson for Winchester City Council said: ‘Outline planning permission was granted on 30th July 2018 for 3,500 homes in North Whiteley which included 2 primary schools and 1 secondary school along with retail, community centre and highway improvements. Work started on site in January 2019 with the first residents living there in December 2019.
The planning permission was granted alongside a s106 legal agreement – an agreement which determines what, when and how much community infrastructure must be delivered as part of the development. Trigger points for each type of infrastructure are written into this agreement – this is usually determined by the number of homes which are lived in. There are currently just over 1,000 homes occupied on site.
Hampshire County Council, as the education authority, has been carefully monitoring the occupations, in order to build the schools in line with the expected demand. The first primary school, Cornerstones on Bluewell Way opened to pupils in September 2021. The process for the second primary school is expected to start when 1700 home are occupied.
A secondary school will also be provided, and Hampshire County Council intend to seek planning permission in 2024 for opening in 2027. Additionally, five play areas are planned, one is already open, another built and due to be opened shortly, another is under construction and the fourth and fifth play areas are not yet due. Sports pitches, allotments and public open space (two of which are now open with new paths in place,) plus new local centres are also planned.
The City Council recognises the importance of these facilities to the residents of North Whiteley and will continue to monitor the development closely to ensure that infrastructure is delivered according to the legal agreement.
In addition to the primary school, park and open space, infrastructure already in place includes access improvements to the highways, with two new junctions, and two new through roads from Whiteley to Botley Road from the Tesco roundabout. A new cycle way linking the development to the local Botley train station has also been completed. As part of the travel plan, a new hourly bus service began at the start of this year running from Botley Station to Fareham, with stops at Whiteley Meadow, Whiteley surgery and Whiteley shopping centre in between.
Works are planned to the footpath alongside the primary school to be a lit cycleway.
We would urge any residents who have any concerns about the development to attend the North Whiteley forum, and have their say, as progress of the development, including community infrastructure, is monitored there. Representatives of the consortium of developers, including Vistry (formerly Bovis Homes), Hampshire County Council, Winchester City Council and Whiteley Town Council all attend these meetings. The next meeting is 13th November 2023.’
A spokesperson on behalf of Vistry Southern said: ‘We are one of a consortium of housebuilders who are building new homes at Whiteley Meadows.
‘The wider consortium development has been planned to include two primary schools and a secondary school, which are each being delivered by Hampshire County Council. The brochure stated ‘North Whiteley will provide local schools’ and did not suggest these schools were already open. The timing of the delivery of the schools is not within the control of any of the housebuilders within the consortium.
‘The first primary school – Cornerstone Primary School – opened in September 2021. The consortium contributed a total of £10.8 million to Hampshire County Council towards the capital cost of building this school.
‘Hampshire County Council has advised the consortium that it intends to take the land for the secondary school in autumn 2024, with construction due to start in spring 2025, and the school due to open in September 2027. The housebuilders will be contributing £22.7 million towards the cost of construction.
‘Land is also due to be transferred for a second primary school once 1,700 new homes within Whiteley Meadows are occupied, with the consortium contributing £7.74 million towards its construction.
‘Footpaths, where possible have a tarmac surface finish and have been provided along Whiteley Way, Bluebell Way and Curbridge Way, linking the northern and southern areas of the development through to Whiteley Shopping Centre and Botley Village. The footways have also been completed and finished within the development parcels linking to the above roads within the North Whiteley development.
‘A nursery is one of the possible uses within the outline permission for the northern local centre. Detailed plans for this local centre are still being developed and any nursery would still require detailed planning permission.’
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