Concerns as site tests postponed
A group of concerned homeowners are baffled at a decision to postpone a soil contamination survey until after the first phase of a development has taken place.
Residents in Husbands Bosworth have campaigned for chemical tests to be carried out at a former weed control business, in Church Lane, after developer Evans Heritage revealed plans to build three properties on the site.
They are worried that poisonous chemicals may be released and could be washed into their homes and gardens when it rains.
Harborough District Council granted planning permission to the Hinckley firm last year.
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It has agreed to let builders tear up tonnes of concrete before carrying out a contamination survey of the area and has so far received nine objections from members of the public. Residents have argued against the decision, but said that their concerns have fallen on deaf ears.
Resident Helen Sheppard, 55, said: "It's just crazy.
"How can they agree to have a survey done after the ground has been excavated?
"The site is about one-and-a-half metres higher than the road level around it, which means that if the contaminated soil is disturbed and it rains the run-off will spread to people's homes.
"We've written to the council, attended meetings, called the officers but they don't want to know – we just don't seem to get anywhere."
Dave Glithero, 64, has lived opposite the site for about 35 years.
He said: "It's a joke. We went to a planning meeting and stood up and raised our concerns but nobody wanted to know.
"They've made their mind up and that's that."
Mr Glithero, a retired digger driver, said he was not against the development.
"If there's no contamination there I'm more than happy for the work to go ahead – but we just don't know what's under there," he said.
"I used to drive an excavator and I know it's impossible to remove the top layer of concrete without disturbing the soil below.
"So why do the survey afterwards? It's like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted."
A council spokesman said: "To the council's knowledge, there has never been a contaminated land survey undertaken on this land.
"However, a contaminated land survey is a condition of the planning permission granted for the planning application prior to development. Demolition is not classed as development."
The Leicester Mercury tried to contact the developer but did not receive a reply.