Neighbours of the new Taylor Wimpey development at Ridgewood have been horrified by damage they claim is being caused to their properties during building work.
Jan and Dave Stringer at 21 Lewes Road, and Amanda and Michael Tolhurst at 20 Lewes Road say they have been unable to get the developers to accept that they have caused problems and put them right.
Taylor Wimpey have apologised to the residents for any inconvenience and distress caused during work at the Ridgewood Place development and have answered points raised by them in a comment at the end of this story.
Jan and Dave say last summer was written off for them. They couldn’t go into their garden because of the dust and noise, their cottage shook as heavy machinery worked next door, cracks have appeared in their downstairs bathroom, dining room ceiling, and their front gate and hedge are sliding into their garden.
In addition their power was cut off after a cable was cut through and their garden was flooded with sewage after a sewage pipe was damaged.
Amanda Tolhurst says she and her husband were promised a brick wall between their property and the new development. Then a contract was drawn up to build a wooden fence, and plant laurels, which they were happy with. Work began along one boundary but then stopped.
Next they were shocked that a slow incline from their garden into the development was sliced away leaving a vertical drop into which their garden is falling.
A 60-foot Cypress tree growing in Amanda’s garden had all the roots on one side sliced off on her side of the boundary when the trench was excavated. She claims Taylor Wimpey trespassed onto her land to do that.
She now fears the tree is unstable and a danger to her family, visitors and neighbouring properties.
The couple’s once-flat lawn is now undulating and they say a brick retaining wall in their garden is also cracking and has collapsed in places.
Amanda said the damage began after Taylor Wimpey dug the trench, and severed drainage pipes running under her land, and it continues to worsen.
Amanda said it had been terrible living next door to the development site and their health was now being affected. They had started out happy with the work Taylor Wimpey did in planting laurels and building a fence on one boundary.
She simply wanted the work to continue to work in accordance with a signed contract finalised more than three months ago.
“We have lived here 15 years and they have turned our home into a living nightmare.”
Surveyor Michael Simpson who specialises in dealing with boundary disputes is representing the Stringers and Tolhursts in trying to get Taylor Wimpey to put right the damage they say has been caused by the developers.
Mr Simpson said neither couple was trying to profit from what had happened, just have the damage that was not caused by them put right.
He added they were the losers in all this, they had lost their beautiful views and all they wanted is to have things put right with a clear explanation of how that would be done and who would be responsible for any ongoing issues in the future.”
He said problems might have been avoided if there had been communication between the developers and neighbours explaining what would be done as work progressed but that had not happened.
A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson said: “We would like to apologise to these residents for any inconvenience and distress caused.
“We have been in regular contact with them, and their representatives, and are fully committed to keeping any disruption to a minimum whilst works at our Ridgewood Place development are completed.”
With regard to concerns raised by the Tolhursts and Stringers they said:
- Taylor Wimpey appointed an independent surveyor to investigate the cracks at Mr and Mrs Springer’s property. The surveyor’s report concluded that the cause of the cracking is likely to be seasonal.
- Following the removal of small roots, Taylor Wimpey appointed an independent agriculturalist to carry out a full survey on the Cypress tree. The agriculturalist’s report confirms that there has been no lasting damage to the tree and it will fully recover. The residents have been provided with a copy of the independent agriculturalist’s report.
- The boundary works include construction of a brick retaining wall and a close board fence. We have now started boundary works at our Ridgewood Place development.
- Taylor Wimpey has met with the residents’ representative and is happy to meet to discuss this matter further.
- If there are any issues following the completion of works, Taylor Wimpey is fully committed to rectifying these.
- All works are being carried out on land owned by Taylor Wimpey.
- Outline planning permission for the Ridgewood Farm scheme was granted by Wealden District Council in March 2016.
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