Explosive fears for housing idea

EXPLOSIVE and potentially flammable gases could escape if a new housing development is allowed to be built on a former tip, it was warned today.Councillors have refused permission for five homes to be built on the land – and environmental experts say there should be a full investigation before any building takes place.

By Richard Cornwell

EXPLOSIVE and potentially flammable gases could escape if a new housing development is allowed to be built on a former tip, it was warned today.

Councillors have refused permission for five homes to be built on the land – and environmental experts say there should be a full investigation before any building takes place.

They do not rule out the possibility of some development in the future, but say special safety equipment may need to be installed to deal with possible gas leaks.

The 1.2 acre site at Kesgrave was a former landfill site and environmental officers say there is known chemical contamination and gases, such as methane being created from decomposing rubbish.

Developers Framlingham Properties, which applied to put the five homes on the land, said houses would be piled, fitted with protective measures, and 500mm of clean soil placed across the land to raise it and help make it safe.

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Suffolk Coastal council's development control sub committee refused consent for the homes, not because of the gas worries, but because they did not feel trees covered by Tree Preservation Orders would be safeguarded.

But Veronica Read, Kesgrave councillor, said there were real worries over the state of the land off Woodbridge Road and Holly Road and the contamination.

"I know some people say 'buyer beware', but I would not want to live on a landfill site with known contamination, and I would not want my children or my prospective grandchildren to live there either," she said.

Mrs Read did not believe that 500mm of topsoil was adequate for people gardening and working on their land to be protected from what lay beneath.

She also feared that the trees would face pressure to be lopped and crowns made higher because of the way they would overhang the gardens and properties.

The Environment Agency told the council that the site harboured "potentially flammable and explosive gases" which could leak.

"The agency recommends than an investigation be carried out to establish whether there are any problems with landfill gas and measures that may be necessary to ensure the safety of the development," it said.

Kesgrave Town Council and Rushmere St Andrew Parish Council both recommended refusal of the scheme.

Planning officers said there were no reasons why homes should not be built on the land – and previously permission had been given for two properties.

The developers were willing to carry out measures to deal with the contamination, and the scheme preserved the trees.

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