Harborough developer ordered to stop using farm track after complaints from residents

A developer at a site on Burnmill Farm is facing enforcement action following a breach of planning and complaints from neighbours.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 4:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 4:48 pm
Residents of the road. Photo by Andrew Carpenter.
Residents of the road. Photo by Andrew Carpenter.

Harborough District Council has issued a temporary stop notice to David Wilson Homes, ordering them to cease the use of a farm access track to access the development work on the land at Burnmill Farm, off Kingston Way in Market Harborough, where 128 new homes are being built.

Outraged campaigners said the 128-house Burnmill Farm scheme, off Kingston Way, has triggered serious floods amid repeated rainstorms over the last few weeks.

Residents say the sprawling David Wilson Homes development is also jamming tight roads with heavy construction traffic as well as making a lot of noise.

Traffic waiting to enter the site.

An enforcement officer visited the site on Wednesday November 20 and issued the temporary stop notice in connection with unauthorised use of the farm access track and to prevent harm to nearby residential amenity and harm to endangered species, such as Great Crested Newts.

Temporary stop notices can be used by local planning authorities to act very quickly to address breaches of planning control, such as unauthorised activities.

David Wilson Homes must now cease to use the unauthorised route.

Failure to comply could result in prosecution in the Magistrates’ Court and a maximum penalty of £20,000.

Residents' gardens have been affected by the flooding.

A Council spokesperson said: “Harborough District Council can confirm that it has now served a temporary stop notice on 20 November 2019 relating to land at Burnmill Farm. We take planning breaches very seriously and if developers fail to comply with planning regulations then enforcement action will follow.”

Residents recently shared their concerns with the Haborough Mail

Shortly before the council issued the stop notice, Mike Major, deputy chairman of Burnmill Farm Action Group,told the Harborough Mail: “David Wilson Homes have acted arrogantly towards us and disrespected our councillors.

“They have totally failed to carry out their duty of care and it’s time for the council to act now and crack down.”

Mr Major, 73, of nearby Bates Close, said the housebuilder had “stripped top soil and vegetation” off the huge site making flooding inevitable.

“They are building on three fields up there and the land was agricultural so rainwater used to be soaked up,” said Mike, a retired chief executive of a trade association in London.

“They’ve also built a hill of top soil overlooking Kingston Way and excess rain just pours off down into the street.

“Water flows across the road and floods people’s gardens as well as wrecking our beautiful local environment.”

Tony Barratt, 66, said: “I’ve lived here 21 years and never had a problem but now my garden’s been flooded twice in two weeks!

“That’s not a coincidence.

“It’s purely down to the building site just up the road turning our entire community upside down.”

The retired deputy IT director added: “I ended up with a river in my garden.

“I’ve had to dig a ditch round my lawn to try and divert water out the back of my garden.”

Mr Major insisted a haul road should have been built across the site for trucks, diggers and other heavy vehicles before building work began.

“David Wilson should also have put in a special pond to drain away rainwater,” he said.

“They’ve gone about this entirely the wrong way.

“We’ve also got rare great crested newts in this area but goodness knows what’s happened to them.”

Gwen Compton, 58, of Kingston Way, said: “This estate is making our lives a misery.

“They started building work about three months ago and we could have years of this hell to come.”

The fuming businesswoman added: “The council imposed some tough planning conditions when they backed this application.

“Now we need the council to do their job and get tough with David Wilson to make sure our nightmare ends now.”

At the time, spokesman for Coalville-based David Wilson Homes East Midlands apologised to devastated residents hit by flooding.

A spokesperson said: “We are working closely with Harborough District Council on the necessary works at our Burnmill Grange site, which are set to ensure the haul road is completed by the end of November.

“Our site team and key contractors have been reminded of the approved construction traffic route.

“The appropriate action will be taken against those failing to comply with the plans.

“To minimise traffic on local roads we have installed signs, organised staggered deliveries and employed a banksman to supervise the deliveries,” he said.

“The top soil has been removed to facilitate the required archaeological works.

“But we have installed two temporary ponds, drainage trenches and ensured the silt fences are working efficiently to reduce surface run-off in adverse weather conditions.

“We will remain proactive and monitor the situation moving forwards.

“We apologise to those affected by the heavy rainfall and related flooding and will be working closely with residents to resolve any issues in a timely manner.”