Row between developer and Doncaster Council breaks out over site access

A housing developer has called Doncaster Council’s planning department ‘farcical’ after they were shut down for allegedly breaking building conditions.

By George Torr
Friday, 17th July 2020, 12:13 pm
Updated Friday, 17th July 2020, 12:15 pm

Chris Noble, managing director of Noble Homes said the council has put as ‘many obstacles in their way as they could’ in building 23 homes in Moorends on land between Marshland Road and Bloomhill Court.

Planners issued the firm a Temporary Stop Notice (TSN) in January because they were accessing residential roads not in the Construction Method Statement.

But the firm said highways officers were initially in favour of workers accessing the site from Bloomhill Court and not Marshall Lane when it went before the planning committee in 2019.

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Moorland housing development

But councillors rejected the scheme following representations from residents on Bloomhill Court and said access should be taken from Marshland Road.

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Noble Homes won an appeal which was looked at by a Government planning inspector which Mr Noble says allows them to access from Bloomhill Court.

It’s understood Doncaster Council had to pay Mr Noble’s legal costs of around £70,000.

The council asked the developer to carry out much of the work via Marshland Road and Mr Noble said they submitted a plan to them to do this.

But the developer said the council then told them they must implement a dropped kerb and they needed a licence to in order to continue.

A Breach of Condition Notice (BCN) was issued soon after and planners threatened court action if they didn’t comply with the dropped kerb.

Mr Noble said the firm had to drop building the homes on behalf of a housing association because of the ‘pedantic’ actions of the council.

“Various officers of the council put as many obstacles in our way as they possibly could to the point that if we were to meet the deadlines being set by the housing association we had to continue working from Bloomhill Court until we resolved the issues with the local authority with access coming for temporary traffic from Marshland Road,” Mr Noble said.

“We got all the conditions discharged after thr TSN and we commenced back on site and we have been mindful of making sure that the road is kept in good order.

“In the meantime we have got the necessary licence to gain access from Marshland Road and the works have been carried out, however, it is impossible to carry out the whole of the development from Marshland Road as some of the properties face onto Marshland Road and cannot be built while we are accessing the site.

“We have therefore submitted a revised plan to Doncaster Council showing access coming from Bloomhill Court, we have the necessary highway safety report to back that application up and we await a response from Doncaster Council.

“D Noble Ltd have been building houses for 56 years in and around South, West Yorkshire and Derbyshire. Doncaster Council is the first council ever to serve a temporary stop notice on us for breach of condition notice.

“I therefore suggest it is not the actions of D Noble Ltd that is the problem here but the actions of Doncaster Council in the lack of cooperation of the various officers who seem to have an alternative agenda to the Government in preventing new houses rather than being proactive in encouraging the same.”

A planning enforcement spokesman said: “The developer was using an access to the site from Bloomhill Court, which had not been indicated in the Construction Method Statement (CMS) and had not been agreed by the Network Management Team.

“Due to the effect it would have on the residents of Bloomhill Court, requests to cease the use of the unauthorised access were ignored by the developer, and the continued inappropriate use of the access meant the only available option was to issue a Breach of Condition Notice (BCN), which was served on the site, on the June 19, 2020.

“The notice requires the developer to comply with the approved conditions within 28 days of issue, and requires them to construct a safe and suitable access to the site from Marshland Road."