"The local community is out of patience. No one is listening to our concerns..."
There's been a huge public meeting, rallies, demonstrations outside the Civic Centre and more...but still nothing is being done to protect residents as Bellway Homes begin the controversial development of 241 houses on the site of the old Swinton sewage works, near Campbell Road.
Salford City Council gave planning permission for the scheme last May* despite huge opposition from the community over lost green space, traffic problems and more.
Bellway has now been on site for seven weeks, with residents documenting over one hundred complaints, ranging from traffic causing damage to the small residential roads and impacting existing homes, to speeding lorries and dangerous driving, to risk of water contamination, to concern for the protection of a trapped deer.
In an email to the Saving Our Neighbourhood group (SON), Salford's Assistant Planning Director, Chris Findley, confirmed that a legal contract that would enable the Council to take enforcement action to protect residents, which should have been signed before work commenced, hadn't been signed as "it is more complicated".
SON is now questioning the legality of the works already undertaken, and has formally put both Salford City Council and Bellway Homes on notice that it is considering legal action against them on behalf of almost a thousand residents.
At a Civic Centre meeting two weeks ago, between Council planners, senior Bellway managers and contractors, and SON, it was admitted that there was a legal wrangle about whether work had actually started, despite residents having clear evidence of demolition and excavation.
"Bellway and their first contractor, ADM, in charge of remediation, have been allowed to start work with no consideration for health and safety of the community – no control, no reporting, and no way to challenge whether what they have been doing has been safe or not" states SON.
"Residents have been asked by the Planning Department to contact them if they notice any planning breaches" the group adds "Unbelievably that seems to be the current process of monitoring developments in Salford...It is just the latest evidence of the Council's complete disregard for the impact this development is having on the quality of lives of the local community."
SON is pushing for a second access road into the site which might alleviate some of the problems but, apparently, Bellway is insisting that, if it goes ahead, it must be paid for from the Section 106 monies it previously agreed with the Council for things like allotments, playing areas and expanding local schools.
"This development was approved with a single access along small residential roads, now crumbling under the weight of more than a thousand 35 ton trucks journeys with at least as many scheduled over the next six weeks" explains Carol Boyce, Chair of SON "Pollution at the main junction into our estate has risen 29% since construction began.
"In seven short weeks every one of our objections has been vindicated" she adds "It's been very hard to watch. People are suffering, we've already lost huge biodiversity in the area as the land has been scraped and trees felled, now we're dealing with daily health and safety issues.
"If this development is going to go ahead at all, then work needs to cease until there is a second access in place and the contract to protect the local residents and the environment is agreed and signed off" she explains "It's an £80million project and the developers want to use the Council's Section 106 money to build the second access road!
"We have the support of our MP and the local councillors, and we have exhausted all the channels of communication open to us" she says "The local community is out of patience. No one is listening to our concerns. We've had meetings but nothing has been resolved. It's time for action.
"We are not just fighting this campaign about this development" Carol states "There is a need to change the culture of how planning is done in Salford. We are just one community of many, currently being destroyed by the ill-thought out decisions and lack of oversight of the Planning Department."
And Roy Harding, a SON committee member, adds: "This lack of respect, care and due diligence by the Council and Bellway reflects the contempt and lack of respect they have held for the local community throughout this entire process. Who knows what hazards we've been exposed to over the last seven weeks.
"We need to see this development work cease or we will have no choice but to launch a legal action against the entities involved" he concludes.
The Salford Star would have asked Salford Council for a comment but the Council doesn't respond to Salford Star requests.
For further details and updates see the Saving Our Neighbourhood Facebook group - click here
*For a full background see previous Salford Star articles...
Swinton Residents Protests Bring Salford Council and Belway Homes to Negotiating Table – click here
Salford Community Groups Unite Against Rampant Development – click here
Campbell Road Protesters Stage Demonstration Against Salford Council and Bellway Homes – click here
Swinton Resident Protest Against Insane Development – click here