Home Owners Up In Arms As Bust Property Firms Leave Roads Unfinished

PUBLISHED: 15:25 09 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:49 04 May 2010

BUST property companies are causing new homeowners a headache in Soham and Sutton. Developers have left the roads in such a state that pipes are still sticking out of pavement and roads are unfinished. One Soham resident reported workmen dumping rubbish i

BUST property companies are causing new homeowners a headache in Soham and Sutton.

Developers have left the roads in such a state that pipes are still sticking out of pavement and roads are unfinished. One Soham resident reported workmen dumping rubbish in a ditch before moving off site - and play areas, football fields and green spaces are still unusable.

Land development company Cofton, who are responsible for part of the Barleyfields estate at then entrance to Soham, went into administration on March 2, presided over by accountancy giant Deloitte.

They had been arguing with council officials, housing developers and residents about who was responsible for maintenance and construction of each individual road - but now the Cofton have gone bust, residents could find themselves footing the bill.

In Sutton, problems for Blaydon Place residents, whose houses were built by Hazelmere Homes, are continuing. The Ely Standard reported in 2007 that Anglia Water took months to get the water connected to the mains sewerage system, preventing residents from moving in. This time it was the developer Hazelmere who have left homeowners high and dry, going into administration before the county council could "adopt" the road.

Both Hazelmere and Cofton failed to transfer responsibility for the roads' upkeep to the county council - which would have cost each developer hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Vanessa Bullman, who lives at Bittern Grove, said she had asked the council for help, but they told her to contact the developer. "Cara is old enough to go and play in that park if I watch her, but she can't because it's locked," she told the Ely Standard. "I wish it was sorted - we have to walk all the way over to another playground where there were a lot of bigger kids playing football - there is one play area open for the whole estate so they haven't got anywhere to go. I told Cara we would have to go home."

James Palmer, Soham councillor who has campaigned to help residents of The Barleyfields estate, said it was time for county district and town councils to meet and thrash out a solution. "By buying their house, each of these people has paid a premium for the roads to be finished and play areas to be open," he told the Ely Standard. "The fact that Cofton have then gone off and invested the money elsewhere is appalling. However, legally, there is very little we can do to get that money back from a bankrupt company. It puts us in a very difficult position but we can't just hold our hands up and leave somebody high and dry."

Sue Reynolds, highways development control manager at the county council, told the Ely Standard: "As far as the county council is concerned we have no liability to bring the roads up to adoptable standard. In situations like these people inevitably look to the highway authority and say 'what are you going to do about it' but it is private land. At the end of the day the money should not come out of the public purse, but we are willing to work with residents to find a way forward."

At Blaydon Place in Sutton, of the state of the art two bedroom houses is on the market for the modest price of £139,000 - but others have decided to stay put in the hope of clawing some of their money back.

One resident told us that Hazelmere had reassured them the road would be adopted by the council. "They [the county council] came here and cut the grass and put the sign up when they knew the MP was coming, but they won't adopt the road. It looks alright at the moment but what if something happens? It will be us that has to pay if the road cracks up and I have already paid enough for my house, thanks."

Administrators for Hazelmere Homes and Cofton were contacted but neither were able to comment at the time of going to press.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Are you living on a new estate and experiencing similar problems?

Write to: the Ely Standard, 38 Market Street, Ely, Cambs, CB6 4LS or email: editor@ely-standard.co.uk

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