Avant Homes served with enforcement notice in Sheffield after complaints about ‘constant stream of mud’ and ‘blocked pavements’

A housing developer has been served with an enforcement notice after it failed to stick to planning conditions at a controversial Sheffield site.

Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 11:31 am

Avant Homes is building 74 houses on Owlthorpe Fields at Crystal Peaks, following a lengthy battle with 300 local residents and wildlife organisations.

Sheffield Council originally refused the housing estate but Avant won a planning appeal.

Residents complained to the council that roads and pavements were being blocked by construction vehicles and building work was happening outside permitted hours.

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Avant Homes has been served with an enforcement notice by Sheffield Council following complaints from residents about its development at Owlthorpe Fields

They said a wheel cleaning facility was never installed, causing a constant stream of mud, trees and ancient hedgerow had been chopped down and Avant wouldn’t engage with their complaints.

Avant has now been served with a notice by the council and has 28 days to comply.

Breach of condition notice

The notice requires them to construct the site compound, and only use access, as approved. All vehicles must be coordinated to avoid congestion along Moorthorpe Gate.

Residents made numerous complaints to Sheffield Council about Avant Homes' development at Owlthorpe Fields over six months

Car parking areas for contractor vehicles and a wheel wash must be created. Silt fencing must be installed and signs need to be erected giving residents contact details if they have concerns.

Avant said it had experienced some difficulties with construction vehicle parking at the development due to recent extreme weather conditions affecting the onsite car park.

This has been addressed and plans are underway to provide further suitable access and parking for the site.

A spokesman said: “All works are being carried out in strict accordance with planning conditions. This includes working hours at the site and the protection of trees and ancient woodland.

“Only trees and woodland that are within our legal boundary have been removed with full local authority permission.

“Where earthworks are being carried out, we are using a jet wash on vehicle tyres and on road surfaces to minimise mud from the site affecting adjoining roads and pathways.

“We are meeting all planning regulations with any concerns reported being investigated in consultation with the local authority and addressed appropriately.”

Six month wait for enforcement

Sandra Fretwell-Smith of Owlthorpe Fields Action Group said the problems could have been resolved earlier if Avant had engaged with the community.

“Engagement with Avant has been far from productive. In their management plan, they promised to hold a meeting with residents prior to commencing work on site. That never happened.

“They have repeatedly failed to respond to our requests for a meeting and emails and have failed to engage with the community from the moment the planning application was submitted.

Avant have shown scant regard for issues the community have raised either directly with them or via the council from the word go.”

Local resident Kevin Monaghan said the enforcement notice was only issued after six months of complaints by residents, councillors and Clive Betts MP.

He said: “We fought long and hard against this development and lost, but we have to live with this. The safety and welfare of the residents surrounding the development should be paramount.”