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New-build estate boarded up and abandoned after cash row from 'council delays'

A stalemate between Cornwall Council and a developer has left a new-build estate of around 33 homes in Calstock, Cornwall, boarded up and left empty.

New homes are boarded at Bridge view Calstock, Cornwall because of a planning stalemate between Cornwall Council and the developers. Photo released March 20 2024. A newly built housing estate has been deserted and left boarded up amid a planning row. Pictures show 33 homes on the plot in Calstock, Cornwall, left abandoned after the developer's costs snowballed out of control. It's claimed the council delays resulted in the firm accumulating £1.2 million in interest payments and can no longer afford to continue the work. Homes on the site have been boarded up and left. It's believed the development could be handed over to the lender.
A newly built housing estate has been deserted and left boarded up amid a planning row. (SWNS)

A newly built housing estate has been deserted and left boarded up amid a planning row that has resulted in a stalemate between the developer and the local council.

Some 33 homes have been left abandoned after the developer's costs snowballed out of control - a situation it blamed on council delays. The homes in Calstock, Cornwall, have now been left boarded up and empty.

The developer, Bridge View, has accused Cornwall Council of "weaponising" legal agreements by adding additional requirements. It said delays caused by the council had led to Bridge View accumulating £1.2m in interest payments and no longer able to afford to finish the development.

Director Michael Wight told the BBC that extra requirements added to the plans, including a second road and a £750,000 retaining wall, had "eroded" the developer's budget.

Cornwall Council said it was committed to working with developers but issues had been "ongoing for several years" and it had to adhere to planning policy."

New homes are boarded at Bridge view Calstock, Cornwall because of a planning stalemate between Cornwall Council and the developers. Photo released March 20 2024. A newly built housing estate has been deserted and left boarded up amid a planning row. Pictures show 33 homes on the plot in Calstock, Cornwall, left abandoned after the developer's costs snowballed out of control. It's claimed the council delays resulted in the firm accumulating £1.2 million in interest payments and can no longer afford to continue the work. Homes on the site have been boarded up and left. It's believed the development could be handed over to the lender.
Some 33 homes have been left boarded up and abandoned. (SWNS)

A spokesperson said: "The council is committed to working with developers that have been granted planning permission to ensure that a housing development, and the agreed number of affordable housing homes, are delivered in line with the planning permission.

"Issues with this development have been ongoing for several years and the Council has done all in its power to work with the company however, we must adhere to local and national planning policy, including local neighbourhood plans.

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"The council remains in active discussions with stakeholders to find a solution to secure the delivery of the development, including the vital affordable housing element."

'Everybody loses'

Homes on the site are currently boarded up and it is believed the development could be handed over to the lender. Locals have urged the two parties to find a solution.

Parish councillor Dorothy Kirk told the BBC it was "a tragic situation where everybody loses".

She said: "We have to find a solution, end of. I don't want Calstock to be deprived of homes, I don't want to see the developer lose everything. It's been a long, expensive and difficult journey. We have to have houses for local people."

The council says it has been working with the developer but has to stick to planning rules. (SWNS)
The council says it has been working with the developer but has to stick to planning rules. (SWNS)
It is claimed council delays resulted in the firm accumulating £1.2m in interest payments and can no longer afford to continue the work. (SWNS)
It is claimed council delays resulted in the firm accumulating £1.2m in interest payments and can no longer afford to continue the work. (SWNS)

How long can a council delay a planning application?


According to Planning Aid England, the decision on a planning application should usually be made within eight weeks for minor applications, 13 for major applications or 16 weeks for applications requiring Environmental Impact Assessments.

The website says the period runs from the date the application was made valid and if no decision is made within this time and the applicant has not agreed to a longer period with the planning authority to determine the application in writing, they can appeal to the Secretary of State on the grounds of non-determination in a similar manner to if the application had been refused.

However, it does advise people to contact the officer dealing with the application to find out the reason for the delay and whether the application will be determined shortly.

The government website adds that where a planning application takes longer than the statutory period to decide, and an extended period has not been agreed with the applicant, its policy is that the decision should be made within 26 weeks for major applications and 16 weeks for non-major applications in order to comply with the ‘planning guarantee’.

The planning guarantee is the government’s policy that no application should spend more than a year with decision-makers, including any appeal. In practice, this means that major planning applications should be decided in no more than 26 weeks and non-major applications within 16 weeks. Appeals should be determined within 26 weeks.

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