Horsford families’ anger over start of 125-home development - despite breach of regulations
11:08 13 September 2014
copyright: Archant 2014
Furious families living near to a building site have slammed council officials for allowing work to begin on scores of homes – despite admitting the developers had breached planning regulations.
Proposals to build 125 homes on Sharps Hall Farm, on Mill Lane, Horsford, were approved last year despite people in the village campaigning against them.
One of the conditions of the approval by Broadland District Council was that developers carried out a raft of safety improvements in the area before the work began.
However, people living near the site are furious that builder David Wilson Homes have begun construction, even though new paths, a zebra crossing and widened roads have not been built.
So concerned with the lack of safety around the site are staff at the nearby primary school, they have taken to accompanying children across the road.
Mark Smith, 42, who lives on Mill Road with his four children, said there was construction work on three sides of nearby Horsford Junior as a result.
He added: “If they had done the work first it wouldn’t be half as bad for the children. It’s wrong they haven’t taken it into consideration.
“It’s only about a third of the way though, the head teacher is helping the children across the road because it’s not safe.
“If you don’t enforce it now, at what point are you going to start?”
He said residents were hoping the council would impose a stop notice, a severe penalty which the council only serves in extreme circumstances.
Council planning enforcement officer Steve Kenny admitted it was “clear that the developer has breached a condition on the planning approval”, but said: “The site has been prepared and drainage channels have been dug.
“The works were to facilitate access to the storage and welfare compound that will be located at the rear of the site. This constitutes commencement.”
Despite breaking condition, he said the council felt it was “not considered expedient” to take formal action against the contractor.
Peter Biggs, head of planning for David Wilson Homes Eastern Counties, said: “We have been in contact with the council about this matter, and explained that whilst the off-site highway works are well underway, we will be completing them within the next six weeks.
“The works on the site are in connection with setting up our work compound and access into the construction site. The council have advised us that subject to completing the off-site works within the next six weeks, it is not their intention to pursue enforcement action.
“We will of course try to complete the highway works sooner if we can, and will attempt to keep disruption to a minimum.”
Do you think the council should take formal action? Write (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, NR1 1RE or email EDPletters@archant.co.uk