Residents' £37k bill to finish road
RESIDENTS are facing a £37,000 bill to finish a road leading to their own homes.
Ten properties at Fair Oak in Teignmouth have been left with an unfinished road surface and unpaved pavements since the development was built eight years ago.
The local government Ombudsman has found that Teignbridge Council failed to ensure the developer involved completed the road — but the developer has since gone into liquidation.
Resident campaigner, named as Mr A in official Ombudsman documents, and who did not wish to be named, said: "We are in this situation because the council did not do what it should have done and now we are left to pick up the bill."
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Ombudsman Dr Jane Martin found that Teignbridge Council was at fault causing maladministration after it failed to notify Devon County Council when it issued building regulations approval for the new houses in 2004.
It meant there was no safety net to ensure the road was completed.
Residents knew before they moved in that they may be liable if the developer was unable to complete.
But they say that the council should have made the necessary safeguards.
The Ombudsman only upheld part of the complaint against Teignbridge and Devon County Councils.
The Ombudsman found:
Fault by the district council for failing to notify the county council when it issued building regulations approval.
No fault in the district council's handling of the planning enforcement investigation on the planning condition requiring completion of the highways works.
No fault by the county council in dealing with the developer about the highway works to be carried out.
Simon Barnes, director at Teignbridge District Council, said: "We're very sorry we did not properly notify the county council about building regulation approval being given for this site. This may have contributed to the lack of a safety net for completing the roads when the developer unfortunately went into voluntary liquidation.
"We pride ourselves on the quality of our services, and despite the Ombudsman finding that our fault was limited, we did fall short of the very high standards our customers are entitled to expect.
"We now have a system which means the same mistake won't be made again. The focus now is on how we work with the county and the residents to put things right."
Residents are negotiating with the district and county council to find a way of completing the road. It could add a further £20,000 to the value of their properties.
In her 13-page report, Dr Martin said: "I have found no evidence of maladministration by the county council and the fault by the district council was limited. In those circumstances I cannot recommend the county council meet the costs of the necessary works, and do not consider it appropriate to recommend that the district council do so. I am very pleased, however, that both councils have agreed to work together with the residents to remedy the problem."
Resident Peter Keuls said: "This is has been going on for years. It is a damn shame."