Pledge over contaminated homes site
THE boss of the company building a controversial flats development on a contaminated site in Torbay says nearby residents should have nothing to fear from the work.
Residents have been up in arms about the proposals for the former gasworks site at Hollicombe, Preston.
Linden Homes has planning permission for 185 new flats in the works on the landward side of Torbay Road amid claims the chemical contaminants on the site could poison local schoolchildren.
Greg Fitzgerald, chief executive of Galliford Try, said parents should be reassured by their extensive experience in cleaning similar and worse contaminated sites, and the fact one of the company's directors is sending his children to the nearby primary school at Preston.
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Ian Baker is managing director of Galliford Try's housebuilding section which includes Linden Homes which has a base in Newton Abbot.
Mr Fitzgerald said: "We have done lots of work on contaminated sites including preparations for the Olympics.
"We completed £350million worth of works at the Olympic village. It was more contaminated than Hollicombe. We cleared half the site. We were contracted by the National Grid so we have all the qualifications needed for the work.
"There was a campaign, but someone whose children go to that school would be the first to be concerned.
"It was a vociferous campaign. The planners always recommended it for approval. It was the councillors who dithered, but I can understand it as they were under exceptional pressure form a well organised, you might call it local unit, all based around claims that you are going to kill our kids, which is absolutely ridiculous.
"The Olympics was the most highly contaminated site we have ever worked on. The contract just for the remediation was over £200million. The levels there were horrendous over an area much larger than Hollicombe.
"We have de-contaminated lots of Gas Board sites. I don't knock nimbysm, but if people want to bring Torbay back to life there will have to be some inward investment and construction.
"If they are quality buildings which bring some job creating wealth into the area then at the end of the day it can only be a good thing."
Once the site is 'clean' work will start on the three year build to erect 185 new flats, access road and parking facilities as well as a new cycle route through the scheme linking up Old Torbay Road with the new one. Around a quarter of the homes will be affordable.