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Builder under fire over early home start

PUBLISHED: 18:16 06 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:23 12 July 2010

Angry residents have accused builder Persimmon Homes of riding roughshod over the local community by attempting to start construction of a controversial housing development before planning requirements have been met.

Angry residents have accused builder Persimmon Homes of riding roughshod over the local community by attempting to start construction of a controversial housing development before planning requirements have been met.

But the company has moved quickly to reassure them that no engineering work has been started.

Persimmon obtained permission in December to build 56 houses on the site at Lime Tree Avenue, Long Stratton, after a long-running wrangle that saw the application twice refused, and then an initial planning approval revoked.

When South Norfolk Council finally granted consent it was subject to a string of conditions before work started - all of which have yet to be fulfilled.

So residents immediately alerted the planning authority when they received a letter from Persimmon informing them it intended removing a section of hedge at the end of Lime Tree Avenue on Monday to enable the construction of roads and sewers.

Paul Ruddock, spokesman for the residents, said: “Once again we have a multi-million pound company who think they are above the law and can ride roughshod over local people and planning conditions. This is totally unacceptable and we are looking to South Norfolk Council to take the required action to ensure that Persimmon fully comply with the planning permission requirements.”

Phil Waltham, the council's former Cabinet spokesman on planning issues, said he was “astonished” that Persimmon was prepared to begin construction without complying with the essential conditions of their application.

“As we know from past experience, the problems with the mains drainage from their site and through Long Stratton are critical and yet the developer is apparently willing to ignore them in this anxiety to push the scheme forward,” he said.

After receiving complaints, the council contacted Persimmon Homes (Anglia) on Friday advising them not to proceed with the work.

Derek Black, portfolio holder for planning, housing and the built environment, said: “Quite bluntly, if they do attempt to start work without having completed the conditions that were agreed then we will immediately serve a stop notice, and I have already given the authorisation for a stop notice to take place if necessary.”

The company's managing director Alan Hadman, said in a statement issued on Monday: “I can verify we have undertaken scrub clearance work at Lime Tree Avenue, but have not commenced engineering work on site. I'd like to take this opportunity to reassure residents that the engineering work won't take place until further notice.”

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