April 19, 2023 8.51 am This story is over 14 months old

Residents sick of mud mound ‘attracting BMX youths and drug taking’

The pile of earth has been left there for years

Residents of a housing development in Waltham are tired of seeing a big pile of earth from their homes and want it removed.

A significant soil heap has been present on agricultural land opposite homes of Woodland Way since before those homes were built, over three years ago. The developer, Idyllic Estates Ltd, was required to remove the earth by April 5, but it remains in place.

As well as an eyesore, the effective mound of earth has started to become a gathering spot for mountain bike wannabe youths. The homeowners are also frustrated with the state of Woodland Way road, which has large puddles often at its entrance.

Idyllic Estates has applied for an extension of the deadline to remove the earth pile by five months, on the grounds of waiting for drier weather. The earth pile stems from the construction of the 14 homes that make up Woodland Way.

That was phase two of three proposed phases of housing by the developer. Planning permission for phase one’s 51 homes was granted seven years ago, but these have still to be built.

Twice Idyllic Estates, owned by George Peter Strawson and his wife Pauline, have applied for permission for phase three. This would involve housing on the agricultural land where the earth is currently situated, outside of the development boundary. The last application, for nine more homes, was rejected at North East Lincolnshire Council planning committee in March.

Councillor Philip Jackson, who represents Waltham ward, spoke against that application, and joined Woodland Way residents on Tuesday to call for the earth pile’s removal. “We will all be keeping the pressure on the council to try to get this removed as quick as possible and get the other conditions complied with,” Councillor Jackson said, in reference to planning enforcement.

“The way that residents have been treated in this area is just totally unacceptable. As has been explained, we’ve got planning conditions from phase two of the development which have not been complied with.

“This just puts all developers in a bad light, we need to get this sorted, it’s been going on far too long.”

It is fair to say Woodland Way residents like Ron Parkin, Michael Graves, and Paul Newman are fed up of the pile of earth and other perceived broken conditions. They fear if planning permission is given to a third housing phase, the pile will just become part of the construction site. Consequently, planning will have no ability to enforce its removal.

“We’ve been at it now for at least two years trying to get something done,” said Mr Newman of resident attempts for the developer to address the pile of earth issue. “We are now starting to get loads of youths coming on thinking it’s a BMX track.

“They’re not only causing a little disturbance, they’re increasing because the word’s getting around the schools.” He also reported seeing cars pulling up late at night “smoking god knows what” close to the earth pile, and said he had come across needles.

“Another concern is that part of the condition will be to widen the road and improve the access,” said Mr Parkin. “As soon as he gets planning permission, he’ll just appeal those conditions,” he argued of the developer, claiming they had a track record of doing this. The residents are expecting the developer to appeal the refusal of the phase three nine homes.

The big pile of earth has been at the site since before the first homeowner moved in, leading to some uncertainty over how many years it has been there. The earth has been there at least three years, long enough for vegetation to cover most of it.

The trio of residents said around 18 months to two years ago, there were moves to remove the earth by the developer. But this was stopped because there was no permission to remove it, and planning also ordered soil tests to be made. These were completed by the developer, but since then no further apparent attempts to clear it had happened.

A planning condition set by highways for any further development is for the road to be widened. It is not wide enough currently for two cars to safely pass each other. Residents also have a safety concern with the current partly incomplete quality of the road surface and water at the entranceway to busy Grimsby Road.

“Winter time, the whole surface is covered in water,” said Mr Newman. “Even I lose traction on it,” he added, pointing to his four wheel drive.

The trio of residents said according to their contracts, the road’s surface should have been made up when the houses they live in were completed. They also said that a management company and plan should have been handed over to the residents on the completion of the last house, around a year ago.

The LDRS reached out to the developer for opportunity for comment, and were declined.