Estates left with broken promises

PUBLISHED: 17:22 10 August 2006 | UPDATED: 11:56 04 May 2010

DEVELOPERS behind Ely s new estates left behind a catalogue of broken promises, prompting criticism that they have built the homes, taken the money and disappeared . A report shows developers of the Ely west and north area failed to fulfil dozens of pl

DEVELOPERS behind Ely's new estates left behind a catalogue of broken promises, prompting criticism that they have "built the homes, taken the money and disappeared".

A report shows developers of the Ely west and north area failed to fulfil dozens of planning conditions, including broken agreements to put in cycle paths, proper drainage and major road improvements.

Planning enforcement officer Trevor Eagle got the backing of district councillors last week to take action against some of the developers who have built new houses to the west of the city, and outlined a number of breaches of planning controls, including a new playground in Kingsley Walk that is locked up and still in the hands of developers.

The report is being viewed by some councillors as a lesson in managing future developments - including the provision of 8,600 homes in East Cambridgeshire by 2021 under the East of England Plan.

Planning committee chairman Cllr Philip Read welcomed the crackdown.

"Nobody likes to take enforcement action but if this keeps going on we have got to put our foot down," he said.

He said part of the problem is that the original agreements were not "tight enough" to hold developers to their promises.

Haddenham Liberal Democrat Cllr Ian Allen said: "If somebody is in absolute breach we should take legal action, if we can.

"The developers have built these homes, they've taken the money and they've disappeared."

He said the problem extended beyond Ely and that some open spaces in Witchford have remained in the hands of developers for nearly 10 years.

District council planning director David Archer said developers would be taken to task on the broken agreements.

"We believe we will achieve what we need to through negotiation but we will take formal action if we come across a developer who is not responding positively," he said.

He said the planning department now demanded a full project plan from developers to keep them to a strict timetable, and has made arrangements with the Cambridgeshire County Council to make the delivery of road surfaces and drainage on new developments quicker.

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