CIVIC chiefs are still unsure when a major housing project will be completed following months of delays.

The revelation came following a question by Winchester Liberal Democrat group leader Lucille Thompson asking when the council expected the Chesil Lodge scheme to be completed.

Responding, Winchester City Council leader and housing portfolio holder Caroline Horrill said: “No official opening date for Chesil Lodge has been confirmed, however the council expects the scheme to be fully completed in the spring.”

As previously reported the Chesil Street development, which will see 52 flats built for over-55s, had an initial completion date of November last year, but was pushed back to February following delays.

The development is still under construction.

In a bid to reassure taxpayers, Cllr Horrill said: “As the contractor (Galliford Try) has been responsible for both the design and build of the scheme, the cost of delay falls to them and not the council.”

Back in November, the city council was unable to confirm how much they were seeking for the delays when asked by the Chronicle under the Freedom of Information Act.

When asked whether Galliford Try were being ‘fined’ £15,000 a week due to the delay, a spokeswoman said: “The construction contract between Galliford Try and Winchester City Council sets out the position regarding delays to the completion date caused by either party.

“The council will seek Liquidated and Ascertained Damages (LADS), as provided for in the contract, for any delays for which we consider Galliford Try is responsible. LADs are based on the loss of income to Winchester City Council caused by the delay (rents and sales).”

Following an FOI request by the Chronicle requesting a figure, a spokesman said: “The LADS that we expect to impose are calculated on a formula based on a multiple of the loss of income in rents and sales from the project.”

He added: “We do not yet know how much the figure is likely to be as the LADs will not be calculated until a period after the practical completion of the project.”

Despite the build delays, Cllr Horrill said that the council and the contractor “are now in detailed discussions” regarding the handover process, with “both parties determined to ensure that the overall quality of the development is maintained in this final phase of works”.

The delays have been blamed on “a number of design challenges”.