Since launching the Lochgelly site in 2010, we have been constantly monitoring the activities of Lomond Homes in the local area with regards to their Section 75 agreements, which legally bind the developer to making a financial or construction contribution to the local community to help improve the town.
With the development of New Farm Vales, the developer has been criticised by various sources for the non-payment of their section 75 agreement. Since this payment has still to be paid, and with Lomond Homes acquiring new planning permissions within Lochgelly, we decided to make a Freedom of Information request to find out exactly how much does Lomond Homes owe communities across Fife.
For the New Farm Vales development, Lomond Homes are due £300,000, no payments have been currently made. Fife Council are addressing this issue by writing to Lomond Homes and engaging the developer in discussion, but not only for the New Farm Vales site, but for other developments as well, which may indicate a wider problem with non-payment by Lomond Homes.
Lomond Homes sought changes to their Section 75 Agreement, and have reduced the amount of homes from 64, down to 62 homes. Lomond Homes have also sought changes to delay the payment dates, which Fife Council have currently not agreed to.
We also requested details of other developments by Lomond Homes and their subsidiaries (i.e. Lomond the Avenues, etc.) which have section 75 agreements. These are as follows;
- Housing Site, Leslie Mains, Leslie, Glenrothes, Fife
- Proposed Housing Development, Main Street Coaltown of Balgonie
- Blairhall Castle Site, Comrie Castle, Blairhall, Fife
- Site to the West of B9149, Lochgelly, Fife
- Site Adjacent to The Avenue, Lochgelly
- New Farm Fields site to the west of Lochgelly, Fife
- Blairhall Castle Site
- Scout Hall, Muirfield Drive, Glenrothes
- Brunton Road, Markinch, Fife
- Hilton of Beath Farm also known as Main Street, Kelty and Great North Road, Kelty
Lomond Homes have only made payments to three Section 75 Agreements in the Fife area, and currently have an outstanding debt on five Section 75 Agreements. Some of the Section 75 Agreements listed above are non-financial and will cover areas such as providing, or upgrading local parks, or in the case of New Farm Vales providing a suitable pathway for residents to access Lochgelly via the Public Park.
Unfortunately, we did not think to request information about the non-financial agreements in place. However, we do know that in total, if all developments go ahead, the total potential income due by Lomond Homes is £669,400, £300,000.00 of that is due solely for the New Farm Vales development.
We were unable to view current filed accounts of Lomond Homes for the financial year 2011-2012, however we have been able to view accounts up to 2010 which give a good indication of the financial status of Lomond Homes and their subsidiaries.
Viewing the accounts for Lomond Homes and the connected companies, there has been a steady decline on the available cash at the bank since 2006 which reflects the housing trend across the UK markets due to the recession, and with financial liabilities higher than readily available cash or assets, it looks like it may be a while before Lomond Homes honour their Section 75 financial agreements.
Concerns for Lomond Homes Residents
The worry for residents in a Lomond Homes development, is that if Lomond Homes are unable to meet their obligations, or worst case scenario, go bust, then certain financial burdens will be placed on the residents themselves, to complete parts of the developments, such as ensuring roads are brought up to grade, lights are connected to the grid, etc.
The first residents of Paxton Crescent, already know about these hidden costs when a Lochgelly based land owner and developer failed to meet their obligations, which left the residents with unexpected costs, amounting to several thousands, to complete the roads, pathways and get the lights connected to the grid.
The residents at New Farm Vales would only face these hidden costs if Lomond Homes cannot meet their obligations, and complete the development.