Council will not pay for roads to be brought up to standard on Fenland housing estate

A CASH-STRAPPED council is washing its hands of two Fenland housing estates left unfinished when the developer went into liquidation.

A CASH-STRAPPED council is washing its hands of two Fenland housing estates left unfinished when the developer went into liquidation.

Instead the angry residents will have to stump up the cash. They are being advised to form a management group to “initiate and fund the works” if they want their roads brought up to standard.

When Hazelmere Developments went into liquidation it left the roads unfinished at The Birches in March and The Croft in Christchurch.

Cambridgeshire County Council, as the local highway authority, refuses to take responsibility for the roads until they are brought up to standard.

Fenland District Council cabinet members, however, decided that given the financial climate and future legal obligations resulting from carrying out the work, it cannot give any money.

Fenland’s corporate director Gary Garford, has informed both March Town and Christchurch Parish Councils of the decision.

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He said: “I would advise you that FDC has no day to day responsibility for either of these sites and that we have no responsibility to make good the failure of a contractor/developer in such circumstances.

“In addition it should be noted that there are unfinished sites across the district, so there is a danger of setting a precedent that would incur significant liability and costs to the council in what are difficult financial times for the public sector.”

Mr Garford said homeowners and their solicitors should have held back some money knowing that the developer had not entered into an agreement with the county for the adoption of the roads.

Councillor Jan French has been involved in trying to help residents for a number of years. She said while she had every sympathy for them it was not the council’s duty to pay for the work.

She said: “It is a case of buyer beware. When the residents bought their homes their solicitors should have pointed out that there was no agreement with the council and should have held back two or three thousand pounds from the price of their home.

“The developer let everyone down by not finishing the roads but this should act as a warning to those buying properties on all brand new developments. I will be quite happy to get involved with the residents to help with a way forward but the council cannot pick up the bill.”

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