Row over Bedhampton homes development now reaches new level

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A BITTER row over a construction site for new houses has intensified – after one resident’s complaints were branded to be potentially ‘malicious’.

Some residents living close to the 92-home development off Scratchface Lane, Bedhampton, remain deeply unhappy, complaining of problems of noisy lorries, mud and dust.

In the latest complaint, Jim Graham, chairman of North Hill Bedhampton Residents’ Association, wrote to the Health and Safety Executive after he was worried about a forklift truck he says was unloading from a lorry in Brooklands Road, away from the site.

He also criticised Havant Borough Council’s handling of the construction site as the planning authority.

Meanwhile, two local councillors, Ken Smith and David Smith, also wrote to the HSE, arguing the council was doing all it can to keep any problems to a minimum.

Alan McGiveron, from HSE, said he had contacted the developer Crayfern Homes.

‘They have provided the HSE with a satisfactory response to the concerns raised,’ he said.

In a letter to Mr Graham, he said: ‘HSE has also received information that your complaints may be judged to be malicious, rather than based on genuine concerns for health and safety.

‘Therefore in the event of receiving any further complaints from you regarding this development, HSE will, in deciding whether to investigate them or not, take a view as to whether your complaint appears to relate to a genuine health and safety concern or not.’

But Mr Graham told The News: ‘It’s not malicious.

‘I am concerned that operations are going on in Brooklands Road which are not safe. I am not the only one.’

Resident Jeff Lane said: ‘As a resident whose life has been severely impacted upon by this development I have no sense of the council doing anything to protect myself and fellow residents and am most appreciative of Jim Graham for continuing to point out the appalling things which are being done in the name of progress.’

Mr Graham also contacted the leader of Havant Borough Council, Mike Cheshire, and questioned the conduct of the two councillors in writing to the HSE.

Following a hearing with an independent panel, the code of conduct complaint was dismissed and the councillors cleared of wrongdoing.

A meeting has been set up later this month between Mr Graham and the council’s leader and solicitor.

Cllr Ken Smith defended the council, arguing the authority had refused the housing development plans but was overruled by the government’s planning inspector.

‘I wrote to the HSE saying what I believed were the facts and that we do care for our residents,’ he said.

‘Jim has got concerns, but he is blaming us, the council, which is absolutely not fair.’

He said the council had been inundated with complaints, all of which required officer time. ‘I don’t know where we can go with it because our hands are tied,’ he said.

And he added: ‘I hope when he talks to the council leader and the lawyer, they can come to some sort of resolution.’