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MELKSHAM Town Council has expressed its ‘disgust’ at housing developers, Persimmon Homes, for being ‘in breach of planning conditions’ and failing to open a play area for George Ward Gardens.
Planning conditions for the housing development on Bath Road, state that Persimmon Homes should have built and opened the play area before 70% of the residential units were occupied. And according to mayor, cllr Jon Hubbard, Persimmon is in breach of the condition.
Planning conditions also state that Persimmon Homes should not allow more than 90% of the residential units to be occupied until the play area has been transferred to the council to be managed.
At last week’s town council asset management committee meeting, cllr Hubbard disclosed that the council was in discussions with the developers for the play area to be opened in time for the summer holidays last year. Over a year later, the play area remains closed to residents.
“The play area has been built,” explained cllr Hubbard, “but it has not been opened. The issue is that they have not done some of the works to the surrounding area to facilitate it being open.”
At the meeting, councillors voted in favour of writing to Persimmon Homes and to Wiltshire Council planning enforcement office to express their concerns.
Cllr Hubbard said, “We should formally write to Persimmon expressing our disgust that the play area on George Ward Gardens has still not been opened. We were talking to them about opening it for the summer holidays last year, we are now into this year’s summer holidays and it is still not open. This is outrageous and unacceptable.
“We should also write to the planning enforcement office at Wiltshire Council and express our concerns that the terms of Persimmon’s planning conditions have not been fulfilled. I can say in absolute confidence that they are in breach of that condition.”
Melksham News approached Persimmon Homes for comment, asking them a number of questions, including: What is the current occupancy rate for George Ward Gardens? If it has reached 70% occupancy, why has the play area not been made available for public use? And when will the play area be opened?
In response to these questions, a spokesperson for Persimmon Homes said, “We are committed to delivering this play area as agreed. We are discussing the requirements with the local authority and will agree a date when the play area can be opened in due course.”
Melksham News posed further questions, asking if they were denying being in breach of their planning conditions, but did not receive a response before the paper went to print.