A COUNCIL leader has ordered a review into the process that led to homes on an exclusive estate being built without necessary legal approval.
More than 50 houses on the Great Park estate in Newcastle were built by developer Bryant Homes without Building Regulations Approval.
Because the builder, now known as Taylor Wimpey, did not apply to the council for the clearance a series of standard inspections did not take place.
The oversight emerged when families on the estate began to find defects on the homes.
One couple, Phil and Andrea Bell, paid for a private surveyor to inspect their home on the Melbury development, and were astonished to find over 50 flaws which they claimed would cost up to £50,000 to remedy.
The Bells and others affected by the blunder have been in correspondence with Newcastle City Council ever since the problems started to emerge.
Now Coun Nick Forbes, the leader of the authority, has now asked council legal chiefs to review the situation. Coun Forbes spoke to The Journal as he visited the estate and met residents to discuss the issue.
He said: “This is the newest big development in the city and I know that there have been particular issues here. I’m aware of the long-standing complaints that a number of residents have and have asked the head of corporate law to investigate them thoroughly.
“I’ve followed the press coverage with interest and I’m asking some searching questions within the council. If people are buying a brand new home they should expect it to be in a good condition and have all the paperwork.
“This is a lesson that the council must learn for the future and the very legitimate concerns that some people have should not detract from the overall success of the development.”
Coun Forbes toured the estate as part of a series of walkabouts in the city that have also taken him to Cowgate, Jesmond and Gosforth.
“I’m keen to look at the kind of communities that we’re able to create,” he said. “There’s a shortage of housing so we’re going to need to build more. We will be looking at what we can learn from developments like this as we move forward.”
People living on Great Park, a 1,200-acre site split by the A1 on the northern tip of Newcastle, are now awaiting the outcome of the council’s review.
Mr Bell was satisfied the concerns were being looked at.
He said: “It seems to me that Nick Forbes has decided to get out and about meeting people and seeing what he can do about problems.
“He’s looking into it so we’ll wait and see what happens.”