Persimmon ordered to stop work on Sunderland housing development by council after concerns over planning conditions
A housebuilder has been served with a legal notice to stop work on a Sunderland development over concerns it breached planning conditions.
Sunderland City Council served the Temporary Stop Notice on Persimmon Homes on Friday, May 28, under a section of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990.
The development for 250 homes at Hillfield Meadows, off Silksworth Road, was granted planning permission in November 2019, with conditions agreed with the developer.
The council has said these included adequate protection against dust, with its officers monitoring the development and "responding to complaints from local residents on a range of issues.”
Now it says the order is needed to secure the “cessation of all activities generating excessive dust such as excavations, earth moving operations, and construction and delivery vehicle movements except where the agreed dust mitigation measures are employed.”
Council leader Councillor Graeme Miller said: "As a council we want to and are seeing more housing development as we make Sunderland into a 21st century city.
“We are very supportive of responsible developers but must also support our communities who demand respectful construction practices to be demonstrated.
"In doing this however, we expect all developers to work in partnership with us here at the council and to be good neighbours.
"If we can't achieve that, and with a history of excessive dust levels being generated from this site, then we have no hesitation in taking formal action where it is in the public interest to do so."
Councillor Peter Gibson is chairman of the council's West Area Committee, which includes the Barnes, Pallion, Sandhill, St Chad's and Silksworth wards.
He said: "Myself and fellow ward councillors here in Silksworth have been in regular contact with residents near the development.
"The council has been in a dialogue with developers, the council has been monitoring dust levels and this action is now being taken because there are still considered to be breaches of the original planning conditions.
"We don't consider it correct or acceptable practice that a major housebuilder or indeed any other developer appears to ignore important planning conditions.
"I hope this sends out a strong message to all developers operating whether it's in the city centre or Silksworth, that planning conditions are put there with good reason and, if necessary, we will enforce them."
Persimmon has said responded to say it was not aware of any dust issue at the site and that the firm has restarted work on Tuesday June 1 after staff held talks with the council.
A spokesperson for the firm said: “We appreciate the inconvenience that can be caused by construction and take all our environmental responsibilities very seriously.
“We have met with the planning enforcement team from the council on site today and they have not raised any points of concern and have given permission for works to continue.
“Persimmon Homes has and continues to work closely with planning enforcement officers at Sunderland City Council to monitor dust levels at our Hillfield Meadows development.
"The results from dust monitoring stations on the development are collected and analysed by an independent environmental consultant and shared with the planning authority and we have not been made aware of any recent or ongoing issues prior to this notice being served.
“As part of our commitment to responsible construction we have a water tanker on site during construction hours and it is deployed as the predominant means of dust control.
“Despite the exceptionally warm weather over the bank holiday weekend the dust monitoring stations on the site boundary next to a residential area both recorded dust levels significantly below the Environment Agency’s trigger for dust being ‘noticeable’.
Sunderland City Council has been contacted for a comment in response to Persimmon’s claims but have yet to provide a statement.