HomeSpying Drone Found Builders Working Without Planing Permission
Builders have been allegedly caught out working without the right planning permission after residents sent up a spy drone.
The builders were captured working to modify parts of a previous scheme to develop 143 luxury before being granted planning permission.
Weston Homes applied to Cambridge City Council to modify parts of the initial scheme which was approved when another developer Persimmon Homes owned the site.
But a drone sent up over the site appears to have captured work already under way on modified footings, part of the foundations.
Cambridge City Council subsequently wrote to Weston about the work, warning they could take formal enforcement action.
The modifications have since been granted planning permission on the controversial Grand Central development. The council said it had received a number of complaints from residents about the work.
A spokesman said: “Council officers are aware the residents have used airborne drones to view the site and that this appeared to demonstrate that works were being carried out which were not in accordance with the approved plans.
“Concerns have also been raised about the way in which the development is being carried out. “These relate to hours of work, mud on the highway, access and egress from the site by delivery vehicles and contractor parking. “Site visits were carried out in June and no breaches of working hours were witnessed.
“Ongoing monitoring is being carried out in relation to all of the issues raised by residents and the ward councillor. “To date no formal planning enforcement action has been undertaken against the developer. “However, officers have written to them to remind them of their obligations under the terms of the planning permission. “The site is under review as an active enforcement investigation by the council.
“The council will investigate any allegations made by residents or other interested parties.” Chief executive officer of Weston Homes Bob Weston said the company have not been informed by the council that an investigation is being undertaken. He said: “We are working very closely with the highly professional team at the Cambridge City Council planning office, to ensure that Grand Central is developed in accordance with the terms of the planning approval.
“A recent planning committee meeting highlighted that Cambridge City Council is keen to ensure that Grand Central is built in accordance with the planning approval terms and that the local residents may employ a drone to be on site during the construction, which they are welcome to do. “We have no intention to deviate from the approved planning details for the site.
“At Weston Homes, we take pride in delivering high quality homes to the highest standard and it is disappointing that Weston Homes is being portrayed poorly because of the site’s history with previous developers.” Residents originally flew the drone to see what had happened to footings dug by Persimmon Homes just three days their planning permission was due to expire in March 2011.
This ensured the planning permission was valid and they did not have to reapply – but these footings are now buried under a pile of earth. The city council insists that this still constitutes “lawful commencement” of the development.