Action pledge on shoddy homes in Shropshire crackdown on problem developers

Developers who leave new homeowners with unfinished estates and houses could become the focus of fresh action from Shropshire Council.

This week members of the council's 'place overview committee' are set to launch a group specifically to investigate issues where new homeowners are let down by developers.

The group is being set up over concerns that the situation has been repeated across the county, and it could result in new policies designed to make sure developments are completed fully.

It comes after councillors raised concerns over a Shrewsbury development at a recent meeting – with members then saying the issues had been repeated at other sites across the county.

The issues included 'low quality work', such as doors not fitting frames, roads and pavements being left unfinished, communal open space being left unplanted or not landscaped, and construction equipment being left on site for long periods.

The situation had been raised by Shrewsbury Green Party councillor Julian Dean, and he has welcomed the potential to crack down on problem developers.

Councillor Dean said: "From a council point of view the big worry is we are constantly granting permission for things then not enforcing them, so there is a real worry that with all sorts of things, from the state of roads to landscaping issues, bio-diversity, all sorts of issues, we are not prepared to enforce and developers will make a mess of things leaving people with poor conditions.

"We need to find a way of ramping up Shropshire Council's willingness to take enforcement action in these situations. What is a concern is there needs to be more joined up thinking in the council.

"When we raised issues in the council we were told it's not a planning issue, it's a highways issue, or another department. It does not matter to the residents, we just need to deal with it and be more robust in holding developers to account."

North Shropshire's Lib Dem MP, Helen Morgan, has also said the law over the issue needs tightening up – to avoid new home owners being left facing problems.

She said: “I’ve spoken to many constituents here in North Shropshire who instead of happily settling into their dream home have had to deal with a huge amount of stress because of dodgy developers.

“People face enough difficulties getting onto the housing ladder without having to deal with shoddy and unfinished work when they eventually move in.

“It’s really not fair. That’s why the law needs strengthening and local councils need to be given the power and resources to hold housebuilders to account when they don’t fulfil their obligations.”

The matter will be discussed by the place overview committee on Thursday.

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