Residents' anger with Cityfields developers over footpath closure

Developers working on Wakefield's City Fields scheme have been strongly criticised in a row over conditions for people on a nearby estate.

Monday, 26th November 2018, 5:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th November 2018, 4:45 pm
The footpath runs between the bottom of Barnston Vale and Aberford Road.

Residents living in Pinders Heath have complained about the amount of noise and dust drifting across from works taking place next to their properties since the summer.

But tensions have now escalated again after Redrow Homes, who are working on that phase of the development, closed a footpath so a new road can be built.

The route links the bottom of Barnston Vale with Aberford Road.

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It is not yet clear when the path will reopen.

It is believed that the path was originally shut due to safety concerns, before being reopened after the complaints were made.

However, it has now been closed again after reports that the company removed plants at the sides of the footpath, creating a 15 foot drop and making it dangerous for pedestrians.

Cathy Walters, from Pinders Heath Residents Association said: "We're sad and disappointed by all of this.

"I believe that the closure is intended to be temporary, but at this time there is no indication when the damage will be repaired so that the footpath can be reopened.

Work on Cityfields has been taking place for several years.

"Indeed, it is feared, that if it is not repaired as a matter of urgency, that any heavy winter rainfall might wash the footpath away, resulting in it becoming irreparable. So we risk losing this footpath forever."

Matt Wilson, whose house backs onto the footpath, clashed with Redrow in the summer over issues with dust and noise.

He said: "People are really, really annoyed about it. This is a right of way. If this was going to be the case it should have been shown when planning permission was given.

"Out of all this I think the most annoying thing is that we never get told anything. We’re the people who have to live with this."

The issues were raised at a full council meeting last week by Wakefield East members Olivia Rowley and Ros Lund and residents have been promised a meeting.

The authority's portfolio holder for transport Matthew Morley said he was "appalled" by the situation faced by the residents.

He said: "This flies in the face of developers saying they want to build sustainable communities. What about the communities who are already there?

"We’re working intensely with the developers on this to make sure we get the footpath open or a diversion in place as soon as possible."

David Faraday, technical director for Redrow Homes' Yorkshire division, said: "As part of our development of new homes at City Fields, we are building a new estate road that runs alongside the existing public footpath.

"In the interests of public safety, Wakefield Council recently instructed a closure of the footpath while roadworks are carried out.

"This closure is temporary, while the new road is being built. During that time, we will be carrying out upgrades to the footpath that will include widening, resurfacing and the planting of a new hedgerow.

"We are carefully and considerately building a collection of new family homes, under the supervision of Wakefield Council’s planning team, that will deliver a positive, lasting impact for generations to come. We have sought to keep disruption to a minimum and thank the public for their patience."

A meeting for local residents will take place next Monday, December 3 at 7.30pm at Trinity Methodist Church on Aberford Road.