Soham Playground Stands Empty On New Housing Estate

PUBLISHED: 11:32 28 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:23 04 May 2010

the empty playground in Soham

the empty playground in Soham

PLAYGROUNDS, footpaths and roads on a Soham housing estate are still unfinished, years after building work started. But East Cambridgeshire District Council is powerless to act because it failed to impose any planning conditions on the development. A foo

PLAYGROUNDS, footpaths and roads on a Soham housing estate are still unfinished, years after building work started.

But East Cambridgeshire District Council is powerless to act because it failed to impose any planning conditions on the development.

A football pitch is littered with rubble, changing rooms remain locked and play areas are unusable on the large-scale development, at the Shade, say Soham's district councillors.

Some pavements and roads are unfinished and deadlines for completion given by developers have come and gone without progress, they say.

At a meeting on Tuesday, Soham district councillor James Palmer challenged planners on the state of the development, which is just off the A142 roundabout at Ely Road.

Some of the smaller cul-de-sacs, such as Heron's Close, have had pavements and roads finished, but others have yet to be surfaced, Cllr Palmer told the Ely Standard. Kingfisher Drive, the main road into the development, is a hazard for motorists, full of pot holes and sections that have not been tarmaced.

"I feel sorry for the people who have bought houses there. The companies involved should feel thoroughly ashamed of themselves," said Cllr Palmer.

Fellow Soham district councillor, Tony Cornell, said developers had promised to have play areas open two weeks after the holidays, but the deadline has passed.

"Children just climb over the fence and play in there anyway," he added, "Who is liable if one of them has an accident?"

"I'm concerned about the ironwork that is still sticking up in pathways, and the number of stones littering the football pitch. It's dangerous if that is not dealt with," he added.

Five companies - King's Oak, Taylor Wimpey, and McCann Homes and Barratt - have built homes at The Shade.

Barratt Homes is expected to finish the roads and footpaths, for which it has responsibility, within two weeks, said Cllr Cornell, but the timescale for the adoption of the playgrounds by Soham Town Council is unknown.

Despite the delay in completing the work, East Cambridgeshire District Council's enforcement officer cannot take any formal legal action to rectify the situation.

A district council spokesman said: "We are working with the developers to resolve outstanding issues. Because of the number of parties involved it is a complicated process."

The Ely Standard contacted land developer Cofton Ltd, who the district council say is representing all five housebuilders in talks. Speaking for Cofton, a representative from ING Media said: "Cofton is working on the areas it is responsible for, the playing fields, with the local authority, to get them adopted by the council as soon as possible." However, the spokesperson refused to set a timescale for the work.

Cofton bills itself as a company that provides "infrastructure solutions to problematic sites."

What do you think? Are you living on new development that has not been finished? Contact the Ely Standard on 01353 667831 or email Catherine.atkinson@archant.co.uk

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