Residents say they have been 'left to suffer' due to work at Persimmon building site in Sunderland
Residents living near a major Sunderland housing development under construction say they have been “left to suffer” for more than a year with noise, vibrations and dust issues.
The Hillfield Meadows development for 250 homes, off Silksworth Road, was granted planning permission in November 2019, with conditions agreed with Persimmon Homes.
This included adequate protection against dust, with Sunderland City Council officers monitoring the development and responding to complaints from local residents on a range of issues.
Following concerns, a temporary stop notice was issued to Persimmon Homes on Friday, May 28.
Although Persimmon maintains dust levels are within the agreed limits, the local authority has said it will continue with daily unannounced site inspections to ensure the developer complies with conditions.
Many residents say they had previously provided evidence to the local authority’s environmental health department about the issues.
While accepting the housing development has planning permission, the residents said a lack of mitigation from site activities had often left homes, cars and gardens covered in dust.
They have since called for compensation from developers – citing health and well-being impacts from the dust and vibrations and alleged property damage to home furnishings and cars from from dust/grit.
Residents also said that they wanted assurances impact from the site will be mitigated going forward.
Vicarage Close resident Alan Emmerson, who has lived in the area for decades, said disruption from the site has impacted daily life.
“Living in your own home you can’t open windows for the noise and the vibrations going through the brickwork – it gets on top of you at the end of the day,” he said.
Fellow resident Debra Adamson said it had been a “pleasure to live in the area” before work started but it was now a “nightmare.”
And resident Lynden Wallace said: “This place used to be the pride of Silksworth, it’s just deplorable now.”
Some residents added that being advised to stay at home under Government lockdown guidance during the coronavirus pandemic had also increased the impact of issues from the housing site.
In a previous statement, Sunderland City Council bosses acknowledged there had been a history of “excessive dust levels being generated from this site.”
Council chiefs added that the formal stop notice was in the public interest and aims to ensure that Persimmon Homes is complying with the requirements of the approved environmental management plan.
Vicarage Close resident Susan Watson said the legal notice was “long overdue” and that the city council needed to give further reassurance to residents.
“We’re worried about the dust in our homes, it’s coming through the roof, it’s on the furniture, it’s in the carpets and it’s in our lungs,” she said.
“But it’s not just the grit and dust that’s the problem, the problem is we have been left to suffer.”
Earlier this week, a spokesperson for Persimmon said dust on site is being monitored by a council planning officer.
Sunderland City Council confirmed the temporary stop notice “remains in effect until it is formally withdrawn or expires.”
Council leader, Councillor Graeme Miller, said: “Clear planning and development control conditions were set out for Persimmon’s work in Silksworth.
“Ward councillors and council officers have all had contact from residents who raised issues on dust and disturbance from the construction works.
“The council has had an ongoing dialogue with Persimmon about the company’s work practices and sought to resolve these amicably and by negotiation.
“The concerns were not being adequately addressed and so, in the public interest, we had no hesitation in taking the formal action of issuing the temporary stop notice and further site monitoring.”
A Persimmon Homes spokesperson added: “We appreciate the inconvenience which may be caused by construction and take all our environmental responsibilities very seriously.
“Persimmon Homes has and continues to work closely with planning enforcement officers at Sunderland City Council to ensure all planning and environmental management conditions on the site are being met satisfactorily.