Our ‘worthless’ newbuild homes ‘could be torn down’ – we’re furious
RESIDENTS are furious after their “worthless” newbuild homes face being torn down – and they say Persimmon Homes “would have known this would happen”.
A total of nine properties are at risk of being demolished because they were built on higher ground than was originally agreed.
Persimmon was granted permission to build 125 homes in Cheadle, Staffordshire.
But to make the site flat, the ground level was raised 2.4 metres.
Neighbours to the newbuilds say this has caused “anxiety” as the homes are “over-bearing” and are “blocking sunlight”.
Councillors have likened the change to “adding an extra storey”.
Persimmon, which has outlined plans for a further 135 homes on nearby land, has applied for retrospective permission to keep the houses as they are, according to a StokeonTrentLive report
It is also looking at making mitigation measures, such as tree and hedgerow planting which, it says, would provide “visual screening”.
However, the chairman of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s planning committee has warned that if permission is refused and a compromise cannot be reached then those living there could see their properties flattened.
Persimmon Homes has disputed this, saying that the committee did not request the demolition of the homes.
Lawyers acting for the council have advised the homes could have “no value” on the property market as they were sold without proper planning permission.
Planners have deferred a decision so that talks can take place with the residents.
Legal advisor Justin Price-Jones told a meeting of the planning committee: “It does surprise me somewhat that properties of some considerable value, no doubt, have been sold without planning permission because they’d have absolutely zero value on the market, to my mind at least.”
He added potentially there were “very serious consequences” for the residents if councillors decided to refuse Persimmon’s application.
Mr Price-Jones said: “Persimmon would have known when they sold it that they didn’t have planning permission. I imagine there’s a lot of people in this equation who don’t know how dire their situation is.”
The properties were described by resident Tracy Milward as “overbearing” and claimed they blocked sunlight in their gardens.
She said: “This development has been built in breach of the planning application submitted. They have built too high, and too close to the surrounding properties.
“Consequently ours, and many of our neighbours’ properties are now dwarfed and dominated by this unsightly development.”
She claimed residents first raised concerns with the council in October 2021 but nothing was done to stop it.
Ms Milward also said it had caused them “stress and anxiety”.
She said: “The system is broken. Persimmon appear to have manipulated planning regulations to their own advantage by submitting drawings they never intended to comply to and then add variations in retrospect.
“We feel they’re using the system and local communities.”
She said if the developer was given the go-ahead, the council would effectively be giving them “carte blanche”.
Paulette Upton, a Cheadle town councillor, agreed, saying: “The plain fact is the developers have blatantly breached the planning permission and we seem to have allowed that to happen.
“Somebody needs to take accountability for this – it sends a shocking message to other developers that they can come to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, put in a planning application and do what the hell they like.”
Cllr Stephen Ellis, the committee chairman, said it was the worst situation he had been involved in during his two decades of planning decision.
He criticised the council’s planning department for not following up on the complaints.
Mr Ellis said: “It really is an unacceptable situation to be in – to have a committee consider that your brand-new house – your home and your asset – could be flattened, it must be absolutely horrendous.
“I can’t believe we’ve placed either set of residents in this situation. I do feel angry in the way that Persimmon have done that.”
Cllr Peter Jackson added that a responsible develop would have sought the proper planning permission before undertaking the work.
He said: “I don’t think you’re treating local people with respect.”
Mr Jackson also noted the developer still had to return to the council with the plans for the second phase of the development and asked what confidence the committee could have that the homes would be built correctly.
Councillor Keith Flunder said that during a site visit the residents in the Persimmon properties wouldn’t answer the door due to fear.
He said: “Those people who are now living in those houses, overlooking the other houses, are in fear – knowing this is coming here today – there’s a potential at the end of it all where we knock them down.”
Ben Haywood, the council’s head of development, told councillors: “Ultimately it’s a decision for members [of the planning committee] whether the relationship between properties is an acceptable one, and which residents could reasonably be expected to experience.”
He said even though the plans had not been followed, officers were still recommending approval for retrospective planning permission.
A Persimmon North West spokesperson said: “At no point did the committee request the demolition of the nine properties in question.
“Planning permission for Pottery Gardens was granted by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council in December 2020.
“The application discussed by the planning committee last week sought minor amendments to the approved scheme including landscaping details, retaining walls and minor layout changes.
“Having considered all relevant planning policy, the planning officer recommended that the application be approved. The planning committee concluded that the application should be deferred to allow further engagement with local residents.
“Since last Thursday’s meeting we have met with the owners of all affected properties. Meetings are also being held with the local authority and the neighbouring properties to agree solutions that satisfy all parties.”
A council spokesman said: “The planning application was considered by the Planning Applications Committee on March 9.
“Following their site visit and having been addressed by members of the public and the developer, the committee resolved to defer its decision, due to concerns over the impact on a number of existing neighbouring residents.
“At no time did the committee request the demolition of the new houses, but requested that officers, in consultation with the developer and local residents, consider whether mitigation measures could be secured to address their concerns.
“Consequently, the planning application will be presented back to the planning committee once this has been carried out.”