Residents of new Harron Homes housing estate in Dewsbury left in misery caused by unfinished roads and pavements

Councillors and residents are lobbying Kirklees Council to hold Harron Homes to accountCouncillors and residents are lobbying Kirklees Council to hold Harron Homes to account
Councillors and residents are lobbying Kirklees Council to hold Harron Homes to account
Council bosses have been urged to intervene and ensure people are not left living in “the remnants of a building site” after buying new homes in Dewsbury.

Miserable residents living on the new Amberwood Chase estate have seen cars damaged by unfinished roads and pavements on the development, which was built by Leeds-based Harron Homes.

Last Thursday Dewsbury MP Mark Eastwood raised the issue in the House of Commons.

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He called for a debate on tackling “rogue house-builders” who “entice residents into buying their dream homes only for it to become a nightmare as they are left abandoned once they have moved in.”

The matter was also raised at a full meeting of Kirklees Council, when Dewsbury community campaigner Keith Mallinson asked how long senior councillors felt it was acceptable to wait before stepping in to address health and safety issues arising from unfinished roads and pavements on new housing developments in the borough.

He said roads affected included Amberwood Chase, Cedar Court, Hawthorne Court, and Rosewood Drive.

Coun Cathy Scott, the council’s Cabinet member for housing and a ward councillor for Dewsbury East, said the authority was “putting pressure” on Harron Homes to resolve the problem, and that the council’s enforcement team was dealing with it.

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She said: “I appreciate what you’re saying. Construction is five-and-a-half years in. There are some duties that Harron Homes have to deal with and the council is putting pressure on them to get this resolved.

“I am also meeting with local residents and taking their concerns forward.”

New resident Mark Solomons moved into his four-bed detached home in July 2020. Like many people he paid in excess of £300,000 for the property.

The businessman, who runs a shop-fitting firm, began emailing Harron Homes in October last year to raise concerns about the state of the roads, which he likened to having been “barrel-bombed”.

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Initially he was told that final resurfacing work would take place “early in the new year”.

He’s still asking for the work to be done - especially after his car was damaged by a pothole. He says Harron Homes would not admit liability and have refused to pay compensation.

In total he sent 20 emails to Harron Homes. He eventually wrote directly to Anthony Lee, the company’s managing director for Yorkshire, who said a contractual issue with the contractor responsible for drainage and roads had prevented works being completed.

He added: “I can only apologise for the look of the estate roads, which I do not find at all acceptable and can assure you of our intentions to complete the works at the earliest opportunity.”

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Mr Solomons, 57, said: “I gave them three months and then wrote to them saying the roads were a disgrace.

“We are living in the remnants of a building site. It’s an incomplete estate because of the shambles that the road is in. It looks an eyesore.

“Their response has been inadequate in action and in words. They have used Covid as a reason to be incompetent.

“The roads and pavements need completing. There are a disgrace and an embarrassment.”

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He says neighbours share his frustrations and that one has threatened to withhold paying council tax unless the council “takes Harron Homes to task”.

Meanwhile Mr Solomons is considering canvassing the entire estate - hundreds of homes - to understand the depth of feeling.

A spokesperson from Harron Homes Yorkshire said: “The handover of our development to the local authorities has been made more complicated this year due to the restrictions on access being imposed during the pandemic.

“Amberwood Chase has not been finished as we had hoped due to these unprecedented circumstances and we would like to reassure our customers that we are working with the relevant authorities to progress matters as soon as we can.

“We are currently arranging contractors to complete the roadworks at Amberwood Chase and expect the work to commence in October. We thank our customers for their patience during this time.”