A group of neighbours say they have ‘lost their little bit of tranquillity’ after green fields around their home were turned into a building site.
Residents of Daisy Hill in Churwell last year lost their battle to stop a housing development by Persimmon, which is now in the process of building 92 two, three and four bedroom homes on seven-and-a-half acres of land on the estate after being granted planning permission by Leeds City Council last year,
Work started before Christmas and has since caused outrage and upset amongst those living close by, who have bombarded Persimmon with complaints about the site.
And although residents say the problems are slowly improving, they claim the situation is still troublesome.
Paul Ackroyd, the official liaison between fellow residents and the developer, said they had been experiencing problems since work started.
“It has been a nightmare for everyone since work started, Persimmon have such a lack of empathy,” he said.
“The workers just showed up one day and started work – there was no prior warning and since then it’s just been problem after problem.
“The worst of it has stopped, but only after complaints have been made.”
Complaints have included excessive mud on the roads, obstructions by wagons and site traffic to residents’ drives, site operatives parking vans on the road and damage to kerbs on existing footpaths caused by delivery wagons.
Excessive noise caused by engines of wagons constantly running has also been pinpointed as an issue.
Mr Ackroyd said: “An ambulance was trying to get to one resident, but was unable to get through for five minutes because of all the wagons in the way.
“They are on site from 8am until 5.30pm Monday to Saturday. There’s beeping from reversing wagons and our homes are shaking because of the constant noise.”
On Wednesday last week there were 100 wagons due to arrive at the site, which were then staggered along an already busy Churwell Hill.
Residents are now asking a clear question - why was an access road not in place before work started?
Mr Ackroyd said: “Persimmon have not thought about the affect it is having on the residents at all.
“That has been our biggest bugbear. All we’ve been asking for is an entrance and exit from the site so we don’t have wagons driving up and down all day every day, parking practically on our doorsteps with engines running.
“We’ve just wanted a route in so they can drop their gear off and go.
“It should all have been cleared before work started. Lay the foundations for the site so all this could have been avoided.
Mr Ackroyd said that although the worst of the problems seem to be over, everyone had had to put up with the constant stress of it all.
“It’s day in, day out. We’re having to complain about these problems continuously before anything is done. They are reactive, not proactive.”
However he praised the site foreman, who he said ‘had his work cut out out’.
“He has been doing the best he can,” he said. “He is doing a really good job, but he is overloaded with it all.”
However, Mr Ackroyd said the residents’ problems would not go away quickly.
“We will be penalised for the rest of our lives. There will be more traffic, more noise and we’re going to have this for up to four years while the houses are being built,” he said.
“All we want is a bit of consideration and notification. Not for them to wait for a complaint before they act.”
Coun Robert Finnigan said: “We have been overwhelmed by the number of complaints we have received from residents about the new housing site.
“We called a meeting with the developers to discuss what action can be taken to reduce the problems.”
At the meeting it was agreed an action plan should be drawn up and a liaison group was formed to monitor issues and work with the developer to eliminate complaints about the site.
Coun Finnigan said: “The way Persimmon is presently running the site is unacceptable. We have powers that can be used to enforce acceptable behaviour and will not shirk from using them if necessary.
“The meeting gave the developer the clear view of what residents have had to put up with and what is required from them to make good neighbours. We will be monitoring their performance closely and on a regular basis to make sure they deliver on their promises.”
Wayne Gradwell, managing director at Persimmon Homes West Yorkshire, said: “As a responsible builder we seek to minimise disturbance to neighbours wherever possible. We currently meet fortnightly with the recently established Daisy Hill Residents Liaison Group to discuss their concerns and agree any actions that need to be taken.”