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The scandal of Downside Close

February 13, 2013 3:15 PM

Downside CloseResidents of the new development in Mere have had to live with the consequences of a series of apparent failures by Wiltshire Council. The houses are beside the A303 Mere bypass, with a retaining wall and a band of trees separating the road from the development. Planners and developers have tried to shift the responsibility for maintaining the wall onto residents, who pay a management fee for the maintenance of the estate. It's alleged that the wall has not been properly approved and that a number of planning conditions relating to it have been breached. In fact it's claimed by residents that a total of 14 planning requirements have been ignored by the developers in collusion with the council.

The original scheme was to have a play area provided at the expense of the developer, but this was never built as it was discovered after the event that the site was 'not suitable'.

The estate is managed by the Oval management company. Residents have been in contact with their counterparts on other Oval estates who have faced similar problems with what they see as excessive fees and inadequate management.

Councillors asking for an explanation from Wiltshire Council as to how the planning department could have made such a catalogue of errors have been met with a wall of silence from council officers. In an attempt to get answers Downside residents have asked the Local Government Ombudsman to investigate Wiltshire Council's handling of the process.