Residents of Collier Close are calling on David Wilson Homes to rectify the terrible workmanship conducted last week.
Last Thursday, contractors TCL Landscapes were called in to conduct hedge and tree trimming to prepare Collier Road for adoption by Cambridgeshire County Council. After 15 years, the road is still under ownership of David Wilson Homes, a subsidiary business of Barratt.
Several residents including a resident who wishes to remain anonymous contacted Spotted in Ely very upset and frustrated by the unsympathetic nature of how the work was conducted.
“The road we live on, Collier Close, off Beresford Road, which is in the process of finally being taken over by the Council, as of yet it hasn’t been adopted by Cambridgeshire County Council despite the plot having been built fourteen years ago.
“Apparently the Council have drawn up a list of repairs that David Wilson must carry out before they are prepared to adopt the road.
“One of these jobs is that all service areas in the front/along sides of each of the houses must be accessible. For the last fourteen years home owners have up-kept their gardens to a decent standard and until now, it has been a very pleasant road with the properties all looking well kept and tidy.
“We each received a letter through our doors explaining that there would be work carried out in these service areas, where tidying up and pruning if necessary would be taking place. So you can imagine our horror when just yesterday a landscaping company came along and literally ‘hacked’ half of our plants and bushes off! This was in no way a case of ‘pruning and tidying’, in fact the close is an absolute eye sore in some areas now.
“We have been cutting the plants in the front of our house since we moved here six years ago and had the box hedges in a perfectly round circular shape. They are planted behind the service area and were not causing any obstruction to the service areas in question, due to the fact they are cut on a regular basis. As you will see on the photos attached, they are completely mutilated, totally ruined, and will take years to regrow. We, along with many of our neighbours, are absolutely disgusted by the lack of respect and consideration taken whilst carrying out this work. Many of us will now have to dig up the mutilated bushes and spend money to replace them in some way. The front of our house looks absurd and we are most upset. We could understand it if the gardens looked a mess but for the six years we have lived here the gardens have always looked very presentable.
“I cannot quite believe that this work was necessary, a letter informing each of the owners of the properties on the close, that the service areas were to be kept accessible if ever an incident should arise in which they would need to gain access would surely have been sufficient. Instead they have literally gone around with a chain saw, slicing bushes and plants in half, dug up people’s gravel, lavender bushes etc.
“You almost have to see it with your own eyes to believe it. Absolutely absurd!”
Since then Spotted in Ely have contacted many different companies and departments to see who needs to come and fix this issue.
We started with David Wilson Homes who then told us to speak to TCL Landscapes in Northampton who in turn told us to speak to Colin Walker of Walker Planning in Cambridge and he then insisted the work has been done to specification of the Highways Department of Cambridgeshire County Council under the direction of John Coyle, who is the Highways Officer.
With a brief conversation with Mr Walker he has agreed to revisit Collier Road to see the work. We asked him if an assessment for nesting birds and wildlife was carried out, he responded that one was done 2 days before.
Mr Coyle said “I visited the site which is due for adoption and the work has been done to satisfy the needs of the Highways Department”. I asked Mr Coyle if he felt the work had been carried out properly and in keeping with the area to which he was satisfied to the point of what needed to be done has been done.
We spoke to County and District Councillor Anna Bailey who is shocked over how the work has been completed. She is now looking at ways of getting the companies responsible to come and do remedial work to at least make the area look more presentable.
She explained, “Until now, the area has been privately owned and still is under the care of David Wilson Homes. Until adoption takes place any work must go through the company. We need to adopt these roads to safeguard residents.
“If David Wilson Homes goes bankrupt, the upkeep of the road will fall onto the residents of Collier Close and so since I started as County Councillor 3 years ago I have worked tirelessly to get 4 roads in Ely adopted, 2 of which are Meadow Way and Alexander Chase are now adopted. Collier Close is being prepared for adoption and Darwin Close will happen soon also.
“If we don’t adopt these roads, then it could become like Upherds Lane which has remained unmaintained for many years despite being recognised as a highway but not adopted.”
When asked, why are the small grass verges classed as pathways she said, “I honestly don’t understand why they are”. We also asked, what happens in 5 years when the hedges grow back, could you see the council once again cutting them back? She responded, “I don’t see that happening and as the road will then be adopted, I will more power to insist that any work done will be in full consultation with the residents but in the meantime please be assured I am doing all I can to make sure remedial is to be done as soon as I can”.
The final question was, in places the cut backs don’t even back beyond the line they insist on, was the work even necessary. “The Highways and the company who have contracted to do the work have taken it to the letter of law and clearly have been unsympathetic. Once again I will look into this.”
Councillor Bailey urges any resident who distressed or angered by the work undertaken, then please do contact her as she wants to help. You can contact her at East Cambs or County.
District Councillor Coralie Green also attended Collier Close and sent this statement, “I responded to a request from residents and visited Collier Close on Friday. I spoke to residents and to the landscape contractors and was disappointed to see how some of the clearing work being executed on behalf of the Developer by the contractors was being done.
“I raised my concerns with the County Council’s Highways Department and with the Developer, on behalf of the residents, and it appears that the remainder of the work done later that day was completed with more sensitivity.
“In order for Collier Close to be ‘adopted’ by the County Council (which is important for all parties involved) the Developer has to bring the site up to ‘adoptable standard’. I am sorry that residents were distressed by the way in which the remedial work was undertaken and hope that all work has now been satisfactorily completed and that the adoption of Collier Close can continue to progress to completion.”
Members of Spotted in Ely took a look around Collier Close on Saturday and took the following photos.