Housebuilder accused of 'taking the mickey' over unfinished development in Northumberland

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A property developer has been hit with a breach of conditions notice over unfinished work at a development in Northumberland.

Angry councillors accused Willow Homes of “taking the mickey” over the Nursery Gardens development at Stannington Station after homeowners signed a petition calling for action.

Residents on the estate are living with incomplete work on roads, kerbs, pavements, signs and the amenity area two years after the last house was completed.

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Full planning permission was granted for the 34 homes, with associated garages, on greenbelt land near Station Road in Stannington. However, the site has been the subject of regular visits from the council’s enforcement officers since November last year due to parts of the site being “unfinished”, as well as a lack of landscaping and a play area.

The Nursery Gardens housing estate in Stannington, pictured in July. Photo: Google Streetview.The Nursery Gardens housing estate in Stannington, pictured in July. Photo: Google Streetview.
The Nursery Gardens housing estate in Stannington, pictured in July. Photo: Google Streetview.

At a meeting of the Castle Morpeth Local Area Committee, it was acknowledged that actions from the developer had “recently and notably” improved, while work had “gathered momentum” on site. Councillors were also told that there had been a “breakdown” in the relationship between the developer and the contractor.

However, a report presented to members said that progress “does appear to have again stalled”. Council leader Glen Sanderson led calls for a breach of conditions notice to be issued.

He said: “This is just such an incredibly annoying thing for people who have spent good money to move into a new home and then have to chase developers. I think we need to set an example.

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“We need to be tough. We are a planning authority always willing to help where we can, but there is a line and we have reached our red line.”

The meeting’s chairman, Coun Julie Foster, said: “Some developers do take the mickey. They stretch things as much as they can and they’re not doing what they promised to do.

“We need to show that we’re not a soft touch here at Northumberland County Council. We need to send the message to developers, it’s taking up taxpayer’s money.

“We need to put our foot down with this.”

The committee unanimously agreed to issue a breach of conditions notice. This means the developer will be required to complete the works within a scheduled timeframe.

If the developer does not comply, this constitutes an offence for which a “significant fine” can be levied.