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Friday, 25 July 2014

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West Cumbria couple’s ‘life of hell’ next to building site

A Dearham couple are being “corporately bullied” by a social landlord, an Allerdale councillor has claimed.

Councillor Mark Fryer described a “life of hell” being suffered by Dearham couple Jack and Alwyn Baker as work on a 38-home estate at Croft Crescent goes on around them.

The issue came to light after Home Group had to resubmit plans to Allerdale council’s development panel in relation to a house that was built 4.4cm closer to Mr and Mrs Baker’s home than original plans had stated.

Coun Fryer told the panel: “I felt the couple were being corporately bullied.

“None of the provisos in the previous planning permission were being adhered to in any shape or form.

“It is absolutely essential that the starting and ending positions should be where they said they would be.”

He said he would speak to planning officers as a result of the case to encourage some sort of change.

The development panel approved the amended plans because there was insufficient evidence to refuse permission. Officers said that if the matter was taken to appeal and the council lost, it would have to foot the bill.

Coun Fryer said: “I went to see Mr Baker on a normal working day and it was chaos, there were vans everywhere and I couldn’t get to his property. These people have lived a life of hell.”

He added that Mr Baker’s concerns were not taken seriously.

Mr Baker, 79, said that they had never been opposed to improvements to the estate but felt they had been treated badly.

He said they were living on a “building site”, with work vehicles blocking the pavement and dirt and dust everywhere.

Mr Baker added: “It has been 10 times worse than we thought it was going to be. We haven’t got a home worth anything at all.”

Debbie Simmons and her husband Robin, 35, live next door to Mr and Mrs Baker on the other side.

Debbie, 32, said: “This isn’t all about the value of your house, it is about quality of life because we haven’t got one.”

Elsa Brailey, Home Group development manager, said that a mistake had arisen between the planning and construction drawings of the new property next to Mr and Mrs Baker.

She said that Home Group was not aware of the problem until the timber frame was up, although the site agent had been told.

She said that a consultation with residents had been carried out in the 12 months before work started and residents were given contact details of the site managers.

She added: “One property was granted retrospective planning permission but it is more than four metres from the nearest neighbours’ home – well in excess of the recommended one metre minimum.

“A report from an independent chartered surveyor indicates that the work carried out by Home Group will not have a detrimental impact on property prices.”

Have your say

My sister lives on croft crescent. People seem to forget the reason all the new builds are going up are because of the appalling conditions the old flat top houses were in. Do you expect people to live like that just because the new houses upsets 2 housholds on the hole estate. I think not!!!!!!Damp cracks in walls, mould etc. 2 houses should have been condemned they were in such a state. It's about improving the village and quality of living and keeping local lads working.

Posted by Ian clarke on 13 March 2012 at 08:36

My sister lives on croft crescent. People seem to forget the reason all the new builds are going up are because of the appalling conditions the old flat top houses were in. Do you expect people to live like that just because the new houses upsets 2 housholds on the hole estate. I think not!!!!!!Damp cracks in walls, mould etc. 2 houses should have been condemned they were in such a state. It's about improving the village and quality of living and keeping local lads working.

Posted by Ian clarke on 12 March 2012 at 21:22

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