Buyers in Newleaf's $733 million master plan left in limbo

Angered: Ben Johnson (left) and his father Steve want to know what’s happening with the stage four development of Newleaf’s $733 million master plan. Picture: Simon Bennett

Angered: Ben Johnson (left) and his father Steve want to know what’s happening with the stage four development of Newleaf’s $733 million master plan. Picture: Simon Bennett

MORE buyers in Newleaf's $733 million master plan, to renew a former Bonnyrigg public housing estate, have come forward to voice their concerns about stage four of the development.

The developer, Becton Property Group Ltd, went into limited receivership in February last year just as stage three was completed.

The father of a buyer in stage four of the development, Steve Johnson, said his son Ben had paid a $32,200 deposit in mid-March, 2012, with a promise that his apartment would be completed by the end of last year.

But he said since the company went into limited receivership, Ben had not been informed of any progress or steps taken to replace the builder so work could proceed.

"While Bonnyrigg Partnerships have sent a few letters in that time, they have only contained superficial advice on fencing the site and a commitment to site maintenance," he said.

"Nothing of substance was offered as to how the partnership was to get back on track or when any progress might be made."

Mr Johnson said in early January he arranged two meetings with Bonnyrigg Partnerships' chief executive Jane Park and Newleaf Communities general manager Peter Williamson.

He said in both meetings, he was told they were "trying hard" to engage a substitute builder partner.

"We expressed our frustration at being kept in the dark on how long purchasers' lives were to be kept in limbo," he said.

"I have no doubt that many more of the 70-odd purchasers are unable to move forward in buying a home, with their only deposit moneys tied up in this debacle."

Mr Johnson said in the second and final meeting with them, he was told they had both signed a confidentiality agreement and could therefore give no further information.

"We subsequently gave up on this line of inquiry as it was plain that they were not going to help in giving any indications of where purchasers stand," he said.

Mr Williamson said he understood the frustration and anxiety felt by stage four depositors.

"The project partners remain engaged with all stakeholders to reach an agreed outcome as quickly as possible. However, the project partners acknowledge this process has taken a protracted period of time," he said.

"Also, due to the confidential and incomplete status of this process, the project partners regret that a timetable for the resumption of construction can only be determined once this process has been successfully concluded."

Mr Williamson said in the interim, the project partners were happy to meet stage four purchasers to discuss their individual circumstances.

"All deposits paid for homes in stage four of the Newleaf project are safely held in trust, on depositors' behalf, by a reputable legal firm."

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