Residents voice concerns at state of their estate

March 31 2021
Residents voice concerns at state of their estate

RESIDENTS have voiced their concern and frustration at the state of their estate two years after they moved into their newly-built homes.

They say there are a string of issues that need attention on the Vicarage Fields site in Wells, and that they feel let down by developers Crest Nicholson.

Among the complaints they list are unfinished roads, some with pot holes; high, uneven kerbs; raised manhole covers; unfinished areas of landscaping; and an abandoned site compound, complete with piles of unused materials and a portable toilet.

The siting of a yet-to-be-completed play area is another contentious issue – and there are claims that planning requirements have not been enforced by Mendip District Council.

Nick Waddington, who lives in Godwin Close, described Vicarage Fields as being in an “appalling state”.

“When planning permission was given for Vicarage Fields, there were several conditions imposed upon the consent,” he said.

“Throughout the project, it appears that Crest Nicholson have disregarded many of the imposed conditions, particularly with regards to the groundworks and landscaping, with no comeback from Mendip council’s planning department.

“Crest Nicholson disappeared from the site about 15 months ago – almost to the date that the last house was sold – and apart from appearing for two weeks around July 2020, to dig a large hole adjacent to Godwin Close, haven’t been seen since.”

He added that residents are bound by a condition of their house purchase agreement to pay “a substantial sum” each year to management company HML for the upkeep and maintenance of the roads and landscaping – even though these have not been properly completed in the first place.

Another resident, Stan Gibby, said: “I and my wife are disappointed in the attitude and conduct of Crest Nicholson for failing to complete roads and landscaping in the two years we have lived in Godwin Close, and their refusal to engage about the play area location.

“The play area is a sore issue in that Crest Nicholson applied for planning permission to relocate on the basis of it being a non-material matter in response to ‘strong objection’ from a local resident. The residents of Godwin Close were not informed of the objection or request or in any way engaged despite approaches to the company by residents.

“I also criticise Mendip District Council for apparent lack of diligence and rigour in enforcing planning requirements generally throughout Vicarage Fields.

“As ever the concerns of the humble punter and  council tax payer seem to have low priority.

“I appeal to Crest Nicholson to live up to their motto ‘Dedicated to excellence in placemaking, … and customer service’.”

Jason Pope also bought his house from new in 2019. He said: “I considered Crest to be a quality brand and a brand I could trust. Over the past year I have realised how wrong I was.

“Things started to go wrong in early 2020 over the location of the play area, it transpires there had been complaints on the original planned location so Crest moved it. This was without consulting the residents of Godwin Close. Things deteriorated when Covid struck, and the work stopped even though construction could continue.

“In July excavation started outside the front of my house, digging a large hole in the landscape. Fences were erected and less than a week later work ground to a halt. Fences got blown down during the storms and this is when Crest customer services sunk to their lowest form.

“Many residents contacted Crest for a timeline on completion, but we were completely ignored. So now we have a large hole in the wrong place and no response from Crest.

“We continue to pay HML for the upkeep of the site when it’s nowhere near complete and many trip hazards exist. We should not be paying until the site is complete and handed over.”

A Crest Nicholson spokesperson said: “We are currently working closely with the local authority and management company to agree a programme for completion of the remaining works. We are committed to creating high quality communities and appreciate the patience of residents at Vicarage Fields while these works are ongoing.”

A spokesperson from Mendip District Council has confirmed that the council is aware of concerns raised by local residents and is seeking to resolve the outstanding issues with Crest Nicholson.