THE chief executive of Arch, the Northumberland development company, has issued a message of reassurance following speculation over its future.
Jacqui Kell says its “business as usual” at the Northumberland County Council-owned organisation, which manages a £300m property portfolio, while a strategic review of operations is carried out by the new administration at County Hall.
It follows a pre-election pledge by the Conservatives to scrap Arch, which new council leader, Coun. Peter Jackson, has previously branded a “highly dubious operation”.
“We are aware there has been uncertainty about our operations over the last few weeks and we have a responsibility to keep all of our customers informed,” said Mrs Kell. “We are currently working closely with the new administration to help carry out a strategic review, and we can reassure our tenants, home buyers and local businesses that our service delivery remains the same and it is business as usual.”
She added that all existing tenancies for residents and businesses in Arch homes and business premises will continue unaffected.
Ascent Homes, the house building arm of Arch, will continue to build and sell homes and provide customer care and service for purchasers.
And, all of Arch’s current on-site developments – other than the planned construction of the new county council headquarters on the Portland Park site in Ashington – will proceed as planned.
However, Mrs Kell warned that, in a small number of cases, Arch may be required to terminate contracts with external consultants or contractors where services are no longer required or the work can be delivered differently.
Leader of Northumberland County Council, Coun. Peter Jackson, said: “We are currently establishing the parameters of the Arch strategic review. It may take several weeks or months to conclude the review – in the meantime the council will work closely with the Arch board and management team to ensure businesses, tenants and home-buyers are not affected by this.”