Housing developer vows to meet with residents over concerns on Northampton estate

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Residents claim their concerns have been ignored but developer says work is in line with planning permission

A housing developer has offered to meet with residents after they raised concerns over a huge new estate being built behind their Northampton homes.

People living in South View near the Western Gate housing estate, just off Sandy Lane, say the last two years have been “awful” since construction started.

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They have raised concerns about a 7ft mound of mud near their gardens, times of work being carried out, impact on views, noise, dust and devaluation of their homes.

Here are some of the residents in South View unhappy with the development occurring behind their gardens. Pictures is the 7ft mound of mud directly behind their properties.Here are some of the residents in South View unhappy with the development occurring behind their gardens. Pictures is the 7ft mound of mud directly behind their properties.
Here are some of the residents in South View unhappy with the development occurring behind their gardens. Pictures is the 7ft mound of mud directly behind their properties.

The housing developer, Vistry Group, says all the work has been carried out in line with the planning permission granted and they would be happy to meet with residents to discuss their concerns.

Homeowners in South View say that they knew that homes were going to be built on the land at some point but that they still have concerns.

Resident Julie Lacey, aged 76, said: “There’s about a 7ft high pile of mud at the back of our gardens with a ditch in front of it gathering water. We’re all fearful of it flooding with water and coming through the backs of our houses.

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“My home is a bungalow, there’s going to be a two-storey house behind me looking straight down into my house.

“I’ve been to every house along this road and we’re all in agreement, we’re not happy."

Resident Richard Howey, aged 74, said: “The last two years have been awful. We knew there were going to be houses built behind us, but we didn’t know they’d be built seven foot in the air at the base. They will look straight down our garden. It will be like looking at a skyscraper at the top of our garden.”

A number of other residents, who did not want to be named, said they felt that their views were not being listened too and called on West Northamptonshire Council to take up their concerns.

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One said: “All of our issues raised have fallen on deaf ears. They’ve totally ignored us, passing us on to someone else. Nothing is ever done.”

A Vistry spokeswoman responded saying the site is being built in line with its planning consent.

The spokeswoman said: “Western Gate has been built in line with its planning consent, as agreed with WNC.

“Work at the development continues to operate within the scope of the planning consent. This includes noise levels, storage of materials, and drainage.

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“We would also be happy to talk with residents of South View. We have construction teams on-site five days per week, along with a sales presence during the week and at weekends.”

Conservative councillor Adam Brown, who is the deputy leader of WNC and whose ward this issue lies in, said he has “been chasing WNC for answers” but to no avail.

Councillor Brown said: “I have been chasing for answers and a response from [WNC’s] planning enforcement since I met with residents towards the end of last year.”

Harpole Parish Council (HPC) says it has requested that the site be inspected after being made aware of residents’ concerns at public meetings.

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A HPC spokeswoman said they had written to WNC: “The response back was quite technical, advising that the build was according to the plans submitted. It appears that there are legal limits with regards to the gradient of land and the length of gardens that means that the plans are within accepted parameters.

“WNC’s response to the parish council was shared with South View residents so they could see what we were being told. As our WNC councillor, Adam Brown, was also aware of the situation.

“With regards to the large mounds of mud. It is our understanding that due to the topography of the site, there is a lot of land that is being moved around to level certain areas and that at times this means piling mud that will be moved to another part of the site at a later date when needed.”

WNC’s response

Councillor Rebecca Breese, WNC’s Cabinet Member for strategic planning, built environment and rural affairs, said: “The council has previously investigated concerns raised regarding drainage and road levels in respect of the site.

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"The details submitted in respect of roads and drainage construction, including levels, were approved in consultation with the relevant highway and drainage consultees and we are satisfied that the development is being constructed in accordance with the approved details.

"The drainage has been designed to provide betterment in respect of flood risk and the required levels of the new road are to facilitate the new engineered drainage system to direct surface water to the drainage ponds within the site.

“In respect of construction impacts such as noise, dust and vehicle movements, each phase of development is subject to the approval of a Construction and Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) which seeks to mitigate the impacts of development during construction on surrounding amenity and the road network. This document has been submitted and approved in respect of phase 1A, which adjoins the boundaries of existing residential properties, and we are satisfied that the development is being carried out in accordance with the approved CEMP.

“We acknowledge that there will inevitably be some temporary visual impacts on the surrounding amenity during the course of construction, such as site storage and spoil heaps, but anticipate this will improve once the project is complete. We will continue to monitor this throughout the remainder of the development works to ensure it continues to be implemented in accordance with the details approved under the relevant planning permissions.”