Developer is fined for ten metre mound

Chris Goodwin and the Cromford View Residents' Association with Deputy Leader of Derbyshire County Council Cllr Kevin Gillot
Chris Goodwin and the Cromford View Residents' Association with Deputy Leader of Derbyshire County Council Cllr Kevin Gillot

A developer which left a ten-metre high mound of dirt on a piece of land meant for the community has been fined by magistrates.

Morris Homes was fined in Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday last week after pleading guilty to the charge of failure to comply with a breach on condition notice presented to it by Amber Valley Borough Council over Cromford View, in Ripley.

The company had initially denied the charge, but changed its plea at the last minute before going to trial.

In 2011, Morris Homes completed the estate however left 10,000 tonnes on soil on the site, despite being obliged to remove it by the time the 50th house was built.

The developer was fined £1,300 for the breach, as well as being ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120 and court costs of £1,798.50.

Stephen Bate, planning enforcement officer for the borough council, said: “The mound itself is about ten metres high.”

He added however that the issue the council had was that the soil was meant to have been removed and the site transformed into public open space, however had not been.

Mr Bate said Morris Homes has since submitted another planning application to the council in which it sets out a target of removing the soil by the start of the next planting season, which would not be until Autumn.

He continued: “I don’t think it can be seen as a victory yet.”

Mr Bate said at the moment the company appears to be working to resolve the situation, however if it fails to complete the work as promised the council would have to take enforcement action.

A spokesman for Morris Homes stated that residents had previously raised concerns about the soil being contaminated, but this was not the case.

The company made no further comment.

Chris Goodwin, of Cromford View Residents’ Association, commented that while the outcome of the court case applied the law as it stands he did not see it as ‘justice’ for the community.

He said: “It doesn’t pull the levers necessary to make Morris Homes fulfil its obligations.”

Mr Goodwin argued that the fine imposed upon the developer was ‘absurdly disproportionate to their financial savings of some £500,000 through not carrying out the work they are required to do’.

Despite being approached by the Ripley and Heanor News to comment further in this matter, Morris Homes did not respond.

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