Developers promise action to frustrated homeowners

IPSWICH: Homeowners embroiled in a row with developers over the state of their neighbourhood have sought guarantees from surveyors that improvements will be made.

At a meeting held last night by residents group, The Celestion Speakers, neighbours vented their frustration over insufficient upkeep of the Foxgrove Gardens estate, off Foxhall Road, which was built by developers Barratt Eastern Counties.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer appeared at the meeting, held at the nearby Railway pub, alongside local councillors Sandy Martin and Tanya de Hoedt.

Representing Barratt Homes, surveyor David Girling apologised to gathered residents for the lack of work carried out on the grass surrounding a play area which has remained fenced off for the best part of a year.

Four years after building was completed in the 288 home Foxgrove Gardens, frustrated residents last night demanded promises that work would be completed of a suitable standard to allow Ipswich Borough Council to acquire the area from Barratt Homes.

Rob Hillier, chairing the meeting, described the area as being in an “unacceptable state” and asked why the grass area was yet to be cultivated, adding that residents couldn’t help but feel “fobbed off.”

Mr Girling explained that the work was due to be finished by the end of last October, but that due to “unsuitable weather conditions”, grass seeds have been unable to germinate.

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Mr Martin said he was “flummoxed” by what weather conditions Barratt deemed appropriate, adding: “You’ve complained about the rain, you’ve complained about the snow and you’ve complained about the sun.”

Mr Gummer said the issue surrounding the fence had been a grievance for homeowners when he was canvassing for the borough council by-election in 2007. “This is an absolutely appalling situation,” he continued. “Barratt should be ashamed. How do they expect the planning committee to ever give them the go-ahead again if they can’t even sort out a play area?

“To say the weather has been bad is the most rubbish excuse I’ve ever heard.”

Ms de Hoedt said the council would not take on the area until it was in a suitable condition and demanded a guarantee from Barratt that contractors would be back at Foxgrove Gardens by Monday.

Mr Girling confirmed they would and promised residents that there were no financial restraints on Barratt Homes to carry out the work, and that the play area would be in a fit state to hand over to the council by October.

“Barratt has not walked away from this problem,” he concluded.

n Were you at the meeting? Are you satisfied with Barratt Homes’ pledge? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.