New-build estate 'left to rack and ruin' as green areas look like a 'wasteland'

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Residents on a new-build estate are furious about unfinished green areas which now look like “a wasteland.” The green areas and play park were planned at Stokesley Grange but have yet to come to fruition – three years after some residents moved in.

One family said the lack of maintenance has resulted in the green areas going “to rack and ruin” at the estate near Middlesbrough, Teesside.

Taylor Wimpey, which unveiled the grand plans in September 2016, has since confirmed that the play park and walkway will be completed within the coming months, with a landscaper recently visiting the site to tackle the weeds.

But one dad, who asked not to be named, told Teesside Live: “We’re kind of just left with this great big expanse of what can only be described as a wasteland. It’s on the back of the estate. When you come into the estate, the houses are lovely, and they all have nice gardens, it’s all really nice. And then you’ve just got this space that’s for kids to go on and to go and walk your dogs and nobody can use it.

“[One] area was going to be a play area with equipment and they were going to put a nice walkway in it, and this was all part of the plans, but it’s just been left to go to rack and ruin.”

He claims that, despite people coming every once and a while to deal with the grass areas, they tend “not to be done very often” and that residents are unsure what else to do as the area still remains under the control of Taylor Wimpey.

He added: “We expected that they were using some of the land to put the building material on, one of the other patches they were using for the builder’s car park, and another for the car park for the show houses. They got rid of the car park and grass and treated that. The part where the showhouse was they have just left that go to waste.”

Regarding the planned play park, the dad said: “The idea was for my kids to [use the green space] in the school holidays and stuff like that. By the time they actually get to do it, they’ll all be at university! It was one of the selling points of the estate – the fact that it was going to have this common green area that was going to be able to cater to different activities.

“Ultimately there’s a lot of young families that have moved onto the estate that, over the summer months when we’ve had the really nice weather, would’ve really benefitted from it. Instead, you’ve just got this patch of land. It’s just an absolute eyesore.”

Other issues that residents claim plague the estate include there being no bins for people who walk their dogs, a loose curb and lack of maintenance to the main roundabout at the entrance, and weeds that are growing on the sides of the roads.

Residents at Stokesley Grange said they had been trying a number of avenues to raise awareness of their issues, including contacting MP Rishi Sunak and other local councillors.

Bryn Griffiths, Liberal Democrat Councillor for the Stokesley Ward, said he had spoken to around eight residents on the estate about their concerns, some of who spoke on behalf of other neighbours. He explained: “I am not happy with the way Taylor Wimpey appears to have walked away from the site without completing it.

“The main things are to do with getting the recreational area back up to what was agreed. They have to bring [the roundabout] up to highway standard. The play park has not been done, and that’s part of the planning condition as I understand it.”

When it came to the issue with bins, Bryn said it was a frustrating situation as the council is unable to put them on the site until the roads are handed over from Taylor Wimpey.

He said he “fully sympathises” with residents on the estate and understands their anger, adding: “It’s been going on for a couple of years. I fully back them, they’ve been left in a lurch, it’s appalling what’s happened. The community is getting together and we had a site visit last week, we had a senior planning officer there and a senior officer from highways, to walk through the estate and point out the issues.”

A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson said that the play park and walkway are expected to be completed within the coming months once landscaping of the area has been completed. A landscaper has since visited the site and sprayed off the weeds, and the housing developer is looking into the broken curb.

They also added that wildflower meadows, which are located at the back of the development, are designed to be natural in appearance. A statement said: “We are sorry to hear of complaints from residents regarding some areas of our Stokesley Grange development. We are reviewing the maintenance schedule currently in place and will ensure that any necessary works are completed.

“We would like to assure residents that we are committed to delivering the play area on site. We are in ongoing discussions with the local council in line with our Section 106 agreement and will continue to work with them to bring this forward at the earliest opportunity.”



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