A MULTIMILLION-pound retirement village being built at the site of a controversially closed boarding school has been hit by delays.

Audley Group is building 155 properties along with a restaurant, bistro, library, health club and a swimming pool at Stanbridge Earls in Romsey.

As previously reported, the site was occupied by Stanbridge Earls School which shut in August 2013 after failing to get enough children to sign up for classes in September.

This came after the school was at the centre of sex abuse allegations.

Audley bought the grade-two listed Tudor manor house for £10 million and plans for a new retirement village for over-55s were approved in August 2017.

As previously reported, the new retirement village was expected to open in Autumn 2019.

But the company has now confirmed that it will open in the second quarter of 2020 due to waiting for listed building consent.

Kevin Shaw, managing director at Audley Group, said: “Construction is progressing well. We are due to complete phase one in Q2 2020, while phase two will start in March 2019.”

Demolition works carried out by Wates have now been completed and Audley confirmed that Henry Construction has been appointed for phases one and two of the scheme.

Mr Shaw said: “Audley appointed an initial contractor to handle the initial infrastructure phase which reduces overall delivery time before going through a competitive tender for the full build contract. Builders from Henry Construction are on-site and work has started, but it is a relatively limited presence at the moment as they familiarise themselves with the site and get the right sub-contractors on board. We expect to have a larger presence on site within the next four weeks.”

Deputy leader of Test Valley Borough Council, councillor Nick Adams-King said: “The listed building consent on the Stanbridge Earls site was a complex application, due in part to the history of the building. We would follow the same process for any application relating to grade-two listed building of this nature and no specific delays occurred in this particular case.

“With a building of this historic significance it is vital that we handle the application carefully and protect the listed building for future generations. We have sought to work closely with the applicants throughout the process while ensuring the historic building is protected.”