Furious residents fear they will be left to pick up £250,000 bill after catalogue of issues on their Harborough estate

Frustrated families have been battling for three years to get the problems on their popular country park tackled

By Red Williams
Friday, 25th February 2022, 7:37 pm
Frustrated families on the 50-home Hursley Park scheme in Great Bowden have been battling for three years to get the problems on their popular country park tackled head on. Gravel paths which should have been made from tarmac are now breaking up on the 20-acre site off Welham Road – making it very tough for people in wheelchairs as well as people pushing prams and wheelchairs to get around.
Frustrated families on the 50-home Hursley Park scheme in Great Bowden have been battling for three years to get the problems on their popular country park tackled head on. Gravel paths which should have been made from tarmac are now breaking up on the 20-acre site off Welham Road – making it very tough for people in wheelchairs as well as people pushing prams and wheelchairs to get around.

Furious residents are demanding immediate action to resolve a catalogue of issues on their estate near Market Harborough amid fears they’ll be left to pick up a bill for £250,000 themselves.

Frustrated families on the 50-home Hursley Park scheme in Great Bowden have been battling for three years to get the problems on their popular country park tackled head on.

Gravel paths which should have been made from tarmac are now breaking up on the 20-acre site off Welham Road – making it very tough for people in wheelchairs as well as people pushing prams and wheelchairs to get around.

Angry residents say that both Mulberry Homes, the developer, and Harborough District Council have seriously let them down despite a barrage of complaints.

Protestors are now being backed by Harborough MP Neil O’Brien and local district councillor Phil Knowles as they drastically step up their fight for justice.

Today Andy Poore, 51, one of the directors of the residents’ management company, told the Harborough Mail: “This is simply not acceptable.

“We moved here three years ago from Market Harborough.

“And we have been fighting ever since to get both Mulberry Homes and Harborough District Council to do the right thing and get these issues sorted out once and for all.

“We’ve got such a long list of grievances it’s hard to know where to even start.

“Cheap gravel paths are probably at the top of our priorities,” said Andy, who paid £800,000 for his four-bed detached home on Hursley Park.

“They are breaking up and washing away, especially after all the bad wintry weather.

“It’s become very difficult for people in wheelchairs or pushing a pram or a pushchair to go out and get about.

“Fencing is missing, we’ve got dead trees, there are all sorts of problems.

“The beautiful park here and the development should have been finished to an acceptable and proper standard and looked after and maintained as we were promised.

“That’s just not been the case,” said Andy, who works in IT.

“This is supposed to be my family’s dream home, our for ever home.

“We’ve worked out that if we have to pay to bring our park up to scratch ourselves it could cost us all up to £250,000.

“That’s a massive amount of cash – and why should we have to shell out?

“About a third of people here live in social housing – and we’d all struggle to pay that much money.

“So understandably there is a great deal of anger here.

“People have had enough.

“Hundreds of people come here from outside to walk around and enjoy the park and the fresh air, this is a big community asset.

“But the nuclear option is that we’d have to close the park if it comes to it,” said the dad-of-one.

“As well as getting nowhere with Mulberry Homes we are also very disappointed with Harborough District Council.

“They obviously know that this huge mess is not right and has to be addressed.

“But they don’t want to admit responsibility.

“I’ll give you just one snapshot example of what’s wrong here.

“We had a leaking standpipe on the allotments.

“Despite repeated calls to Mulberry Homes to repair it nothing happened,” said Andy.

“So we paid a plumber to do it ourselves.

“And we are still trying to get the £100 back that we shelled out.

“We have had a meeting in the last few days with Mulberry Homes and council officers.

“They are finally promising to listen to us and pledging to act – so let’s see what they actually do.”

Residents say that outstanding issues at Hursley Park include:

The developer has never provided a safety inspection certificate for the children’s play equipment, despite constant promises to do so

Public allotments are missing secure fencing, gates, reinforced matting, turfed border areas as agreed and published plans. There are dangerous raised beds on the disabled allotment that are not safely and securely constructed. There are problems with the hard standing areas which are collapsing

There are about 40 dead trees on the park

As part of the biodiversity plans agreed for the site there was to be over 1,000 yards of beech hedge as well as two extensive hedgerows. Much of the planting is missing or has died as a result of poor planting, no maintenance, and planting hedges in construction rubble, insist local people

Dangerous rubble has been left strewn around

Wildflower planting was never done properly, resulting in substantial areas without any wildflowers or overrun with thistles

Limestone dust or gravel paths are a direct breach of the published plans which said they were to be made with “tarmac with pre-cast concrete edges”.

Harborough MP Neil O’Brien told the Mail: “Residents at Hursley Park have been given the runaround for far too long.

“The developer has simply not delivered what they said they were going to deliver.

“And that’s not the first time this has happened in Harborough over the last few years,” insisted the Conservative MP.

“I am now trying to set up a new meeting between residents, the developer and the council to get this whole thing resolved once and for all.

“The people haven’t done anything wrong here and should not be landed with big bills to put this right.”

Cllr Phil Knowles, who leads the Liberal Democrats on Harborough council, said: “I instigated the meeting last week because the residents of Hursley Park are fed-up to the back teeth – they’ve had enough of just being ignored and fobbed off.

“Council officers were left under no illusions about the extent of their fury and frustration.

“How can pathways that were supposed to be made out of tarmac and edged with concrete constructed of gravel instead?

“Council officers say they are going to carry out a review,” said Cllr Knowles, who represents Great Bowden.

“The sooner they do that the better.

“The poor people of Hursley Park have suffered long enough – action has to be taken now.”

Ian Sadler, Managing Director for Northampton-based Mulberry Homes, said: “We are sorry that it has taken longer than expected to complete the works to the country park at our Hursley Park development in Great Bowden.

“We are working closely with the directors of the residents’ management company and the local authority to progress the outstanding items as soon as possible.”

Cllr Jonathan Bateman, Harborough council’s Cabinet lead for planning, said: “We are working with the residents, who own and have responsibility for the park, and last week chaired a meeting with ward councillors, the local MP, and other interested parties to help residents find a way forward.

“The council’s planning committee have requested a review be undertaken into compliance with the landscape management plan.”