‘Force developers to finish road work’ call after four-year delay

AN MP is calling for new powers to force developers to finish off roads after residents on a newly-built estate had to endure four years of delay before theirs was finally completed.

North Hull MP Diana Johnson has been collecting names this weekend for a petition to the Government to try to ensure the saga of residents living on Whisperwood Way is not repeated.

The new housing development by Harron Homes on the city’s Bransholme estate was completed in 2007, but it took four years of pressure from residents, ward councillors and the MP for the roads to be finally finished.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

During that time residents had to negotiate stretches of potholes and a series of raised manhole and drain covers and loose gravel.

The MP wants new laws which would require developers and local authorities to stick to a clear timetable for the completion of essential infrastructure work like roads.

Ms Johnson said people had a right to expect work to be finished in good time and not have to spend years pursuing the matter.

She said: “People should not have to go through all the inconvenience that Whisperwood Way residents did following the completion of their homes in 2007.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It took them over four years to finally pressure a private developer into finishing the road serving this housing development.

“I was closely involved for two and a half years until we finally got the Whisperwood Way road finished.

“I’m now campaigning for a new legal requirement for developers to do works according to an agreed timetable and, if they fail, for the local authority to oversee the work instead from a deposit paid in advance by the developer.

“Either way, local people have a right to expect work to be finished in a timely fashion without having to spend months or years chasing the matter.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s a real weakness in the law that local people and their councils currently lack this power.”

People started to move onto the estate in 2006, and it was completed the following summer.

Residents started complaining to Ms Johnson in May 2009 about the unsurfaced roads, frequently blocked drains and rubble left on the roadside.

Harron, which is based in Leeds, told the MP they had been waiting for another developer to rectify problems with drains on another part of the estate but when that was resolved their contractor went into administration.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Joanne Inglis-Lyons moved into her three-bedroom £125,000 home on Briarwood Close, off Whisperwood Way in 2006.

The unfinished roads were a constant source of frustration, and the delays completing them have meant even now five years on the council still hasn’t adopted her road.

Mrs Inglis-Lyons said: “It is really the developers’ responsibility to finish off the roads – they were quick to take the money off us for the houses.

“I was having to change my exhaust every six months and a lot of people were having problems with their suspensions.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“They sent a letter saying they were going to get the road done and we should move our cars a couple of years ago, but when I contacted Harron they said the company they’d employed to do the work had gone bankrupt.”

Coun Anita Harrison, who was involved in the saga right from the beginning, said Hull Council could have done more as Harron had put up a £149,544 bond.

She said: “Time and time again I asked them for Harron’s bond to be void and the council to take the money and do the roads.

“But the response was: “We will see.”

“They gave them chance after chance after chance – but they don’t have to live with it.

“I think the council needs to be more efficient to make sure the residents get the best services they can.”

No one was available from Harron Homes or from Hull Council to comment.