How times change! Following on from the effusive self-congratulations of EDDC for securing £10 million towards an Axminster by-pass, here is a news item from 2012, published in the now defunct “Sidmouth Independent News” from a time when an Axminster by-pass was thought by EDDC to be a very, very bad idea:
“Trinity House department store in Axminster has had scaffolding ripped off it by a passing lorry. Story here:
It was sheer luck that no-one was hurt in the accident in this busy main street through the town.
We welcomed people from Axminster to the Stroll to the Knowle on 3 November 2012. When consulted about the Local Plan the majority of those responding preferred to have major development to the east of the town (where there is a potential site) because it could fund a much-wanted and much-needed bypass of the town centre.
EDDC preferred to allow development by EDBF member Axminster Carpets on a site to the north of the town, despite objections to flood risk and traffic management problems. Then Planning supremo Kate Little said that the northern site was preferable as the eastern site was unlikely to result in a bypass, as any road through a new development would not probably be qualified to be called a by-pass.
A judicial review is taking place about this decision – taken whilst the new Local Plan was in its first consultation period and not included in the old Local Plan – early next month. The High Court has taken the rare step of issuing a “protective costs order” in this case where, if local people do lose the case, they will only have to pay a small part of the company’s legal costs.”
Axminster North-South relief road gets £10 million from government plus grant for “Greater Exeter” alternative green spaces
Good news for Axminster? The much-needed relief road that East Devon District Council Tories initially refused to put in the Local Plan (when Bovis was building in the town) is getting a government grant of £10 million. £10 million doesn’t go far on roads these days, so will it be enough? Good news for Crown Estates and Persimmon who are said to own a large parcel of land to the east of Axminster (at least they did in 2015]:
On a more worrying note, “Greater Exeter” (which includes East Devon) also gets £3.7 million for “Greater Exeter Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space” which means allowing developers to build on current green spaces if others can be created elsewhere.
The only problem being, the areas to be concreted over seem to get build on rapidly before the “alternative green spaces” are found or designated!
“A website which lists the worst places to live in the UK lists nine places as the worst in Devon – and the reviews on the website iLiveHere.uk are all written by local people. It includes Axminster and Sidmouth.
7 – Axminster – Blink and you’ll miss it
Axminster is a small town where everybody knows everybody, in fact most people know about your business before even you do.
8 – Sidmouth, it is paradise… for the retired or elderly
Visit the Donkey Sanctuary, it’s the richest charity in the UK which takes the p*** a bit because donkeys are no longer needed for anything.”
One of the examples cited in the article is from Cranbrook. See last paragraph of this post. Though most problems in this area seem to centre on Axminster.
“Bovis Homes, one of Britain’s biggest housebuilders, faces a potential class-action lawsuit from a group of buyers who accuse it of selling houses riddled with defects.
Puneet Verma bought a five-bedroom house with his wife for £485,000 in Milton Keynes two years ago but says he still has a list of 120 snags. He is now consulting two law firms, Leigh Day and Slater & Gordon, about taking group action.
“I have had a survey done by a chartered surveyor that categorically states the workmanship is extremely poor and that Bovis is not in compliance with building regulations,” Verma says. “Bovis has treated, and continues to treat, its customers appallingly and now the only way to get our problems resolved is to take legal action.”
Verma is aiming to raise a £100,000 fund through a £100 contribution per homeowner, assuming 1,000 of the 2,500-strong Bovis Homes Victims group on Facebook sign up.
It has been almost a year since the housebuilder issued a profit warning and was accused of paying thousands of pounds in cash incentives to get buyers to move into unfinished homes. As the scandal widened, the company set aside £7m to fix defects and appointed a new chief executive.
A year on, some Bovis homeowners say they will be spending Christmas in houses that are riddled with faults, including leaks, moving and creaking floors, lack of insulation and sewage backups, as well coping with shoddy workmanship.
Ian Tyler, the chairman of Bovis, apologised to buyers in May for “letting them down” and admitted the firm had been cutting corners to hit ambitious targets. The company says it slowed production to iron out build problems, retrained sales staff and set up an advisory homebuyers panel, which has met once.
Dave Howard, who set up the Facebook group with his wife, Ann, and who sits on the panel, doubts whether Bovis has made any progress on improving build standards and customer service. He claims homeowners who report problems are being referred to the National House Building Council (NHBC), the standard-setting body and main home construction warranty provider for new-builds in the UK. But in the first two years after purchase the housebuilder is responsible for rectifying defects.
“We have had constructive contact with the new customer experience director, but there are too many people hitting brick walls with Bovis and NHBC,” Howard says. “Some new customers have had better experiences but that seems to have slipped too.”
Bovis says: “We have made significant changes to how we operate in 2017 and a growing majority of our customers would now recommend us to family and friends.
“We remain determined to make things right for customers who raise warranty items and apologise to those to whom we have not previously delivered the high levels of quality and service they rightly expected.” …”
[The article concludes with several examples of bad workmanship in various parts of the country including this one] …
Pete Oldham and his wife, a retired couple, bought a three-bedroom semi-detached house in Cranbrook, Devon, for £234,995 in December 2015. “All the floors move,” Oldham says. “When you walk into a room the furniture moves. They haven’t fitted things properly but are in denial.” He says the floor joists should be 400mm apart, not 600mm. There has been a breakdown in communication with Bovis and he has been referred to NHBC.”
Er, he seems to not have spoken out in Axminster which is in his constituency, where problems with new housing abounds! Owl noted it here:
“ …Not only do we need traditional designs in keeping with the natural built environment, we a need a new homes Ombudsman to focus on complaints with new build homes. The fact the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, has backed this proposal – will be welcome news to hundreds of thousands of new housing residents in the coming years. It’s vital we get both the design and quality of these new homes right – because we won’t get a second chance. …”
Stable … horse …
Well, we all know about this in East Devon where one of the UK’s mega-rich developers – Bovis – say they are too poor to provide “affordable housing in Axminster:
“Property developers are dodging their commitment to building thousands of affordable homes each year due to a legal loophole, new research has revealed.
Figures obtained through Freedom of Information requests show developers have sidestepped local planning policy to avoid building 79 per cent of social homes they had initially committed to, due to a legal loophole called a “viability assessment”.
A sample of 11 local authorities across nine cities in England shows developers were able to first win planning permission by promising to build a required number of affordable homes, but later go back to the council to say they can no longer honour the pledge because it would reduce their profit margin. …”
… The research, carried out by the housing charity Shelter, reveals that viability is used most frequently on larger developments, which are generally managed by the country’s biggest developers.
It shows that the worst affected areas were Manchester, Birmingham and parts of London, where viability was used to reduce the affordable housing to less than 1 per cent of homes being built.” …