PEOPLE who bought properties on one of Yate’s newest housing estates are furious at developers Taylor Wimpey as plans for more homes have been submitted on land earmarked for community use.
Homeowners in Elswick Park, the former Sea Stores site on Kennedy Way, say they have been misled by the firm which sold them their houses on the basis a section of land at the front of the 238-property estate would be reserved for either a public building or left free for children to play in.
Taylor Wimpey has just submitted a planning application for nine executive three, four and five-bedroom houses on most of the 0.47-hectare land, leaving just 0.17 hectares for a community building.
Kath Frost, who bought her new three-storey home on Normandy Drive in 2011, said: “It is so disheartening.
“When the plans were first released that area of land was reserved for 'future community use’. Now it says 'future development'.
"All Taylor Wimpey is interested in is money.”
She added: “The new houses will be directly at the end of our garden and will spoil my outlook and privacy. It is going to make living here feel even more claustrophobic.”
Odette Kao, who also bought her home from new in 2011, said she regretted ever having bought a property in the development.
“When I was looking to buy I specifically asked about that land and was told it would not have houses built on by the site manager at the time,” she said. “We were given false information.”
Mrs Kao said with the high percentage of affordable housing at Elswick Park, largely operated by Merlin Housing Society, an area for children to play was essential.
“A lot of our neighbours have already sold up and moved on,” she said. “If there were going to be houses built there I would never have bought here.
“I understand the rules on the percentage of affordable housing but if that is the case you need to cater for those people. There are already a lot of children who play on the road and if that land is built on they will have no choice.”
Taylor Wimpey has offered to sell the remaining land to Yate Town Council for £1 but has insisted vehicular access to a future community building would have to be via the new cul-de-sac.
At a meeting in May, town councillors told the company that would prevent planning permission ever being granted for a theatre or arts venue and would make the site ‘more of a liability than an offer’.
In response, Taylor Wimpey is now applying for full permission for the nine new homes and outline permission for a community building to ensure the land is usable.
A spokesman said:“A section of the land, rather than the entire plot, was earmarked by Taylor Wimpey for potential community use, however, this was never a requirement of developing Elswick Park and a detailed plan for the land was never drawn up – until now.
“In terms of community benefit at Elswick Park we have already paid £156,760 to South Gloucestershire Council to spend on a community building as part of a legal agreement for the previous development.”
Cllr Ruth Davis (Lib Dem, Yate Central) said: “It is a joke.
“The original idea was that this land was for community use but Taylor Wimpey has already marked the line out where they want to put the houses. Effectively they have already decided this is what they are going to do.”