Still no resolution to Northampton estate going to 'rack and ruin' over maintenance wrangle

Claire Bridges says her estate is going to rack and ruin because of the lack of maintenance.
Claire Bridges says her estate is going to rack and ruin because of the lack of maintenance.

Residents of a Northampton estate are becoming increasingly frustrated by out-of-control grass and trees after the maintenance of the green areas stopped a year ago.

Northampton Borough Council has mowed the green parcels around Braunston and Blisworth Close in Delapre for the past 12 years.

Flytipping also remains a problem.

Flytipping also remains a problem.

But when the new environmental services contractor Veolia took over last year, the authority handed the maintenance of the small parcels of land back to the estate builders Barry Howard Homes.

Now, with neither side agreeing to continue the site upkeep - trees next to a pocket park are stretching within metres from the windows of homes and the grassy areas are up to two-feet in length.

Flytipping has also become a problem - with a 10-metre square patch of land now resembling a rubbish dump.

Mum-of-four Claire Bridges says she is now afraid to let her children out to play at the pocket park, such is the state of the area.

On the left-hand side, the parcel of land is currently the responsibility of Barry Howard Homes. On the right, the freshly-mown lawn is the council's.

On the left-hand side, the parcel of land is currently the responsibility of Barry Howard Homes. On the right, the freshly-mown lawn is the council's.

"It is so frustrating and dispiriting," she said.

"We are just watching the area where we live fall apart and there is nothing we can do about it.

"I don't want my kids playing out there - I don't know what's down there. There could be needles or anything."

As it stands the land is the responsibility of Barry Howard Homes, which is currently building a new estate at Lancaster way just metres away from Braunston Close.

Grass and trees at the pocket bark behind Braunston Close are growing out of control.

Grass and trees at the pocket bark behind Braunston Close are growing out of control.

Despite the fact the borough has been looking after the green areas, the road has never been adopted as part of the highways network because of an issue with the sewer network.

Hospital administration worker Mrs Bridges, 41, believes that the company should hire a contractor to clean the site up as soon as possible - even if the dispute with the council is still ongoing.

"I just want him (Barry Howard) to accept his responsibility and maintain what's his," she said.

"My neighbours all feel the same - everyone is at their wit's end."

Developer Mr Howard says the company will assist "where it can" but believes the long-term maintenance of the estate should be the job of the council contractors.

He says the issue with the sewers has now been resolved and that legal teams from both sides are working to see the road adopted.

Last year contractors cleared a set of trees from next to Mrs Bridges' home because they were encroaching into her garden.

He said: "We are not a developer that hides away from our responsibilities and I am always prepared to talk.

"Last year, when requested, we assisted.

"This year we will try to do the same again, but it's incumbent on the local authority to work with our legal team to get the management of this estate back into the borough council's control."

Northampton Borough Council is preparing a comment.