Residents still waiting for play area

PUBLISHED: 14:36 17 April 2008 | UPDATED: 15:44 11 May 2010

The play area on the Templars Gate development in Royston

The play area on the Templars Gate development in Royston

RESIDENTS on a housing development have been waiting almost 10 years for the creation of a children s play area. And although work began last September the site has been virtually abandoned for the past eight months. Now residents of the Templars Gate dev

RESIDENTS on a housing development have been waiting almost 10 years for the creation of a children's play area.

And although work began last September the site has been virtually abandoned for the past eight months.

Now residents of the Templars Gate development in Royston are demanding that the work is completed.

Town councillor Robert Smith, who has been playing a leading role in a residents' group, is demanding that developers Twigden complete the work.

But the completion of the play area depends on a planning agreement between Twigden and North Herts District Council.

Part of the planning permission for the estate development was that Twigden provided the play area.

Cllr Smith said that despite regular correspondence with the district council, residents have simply been told that "the matter is being looked into".

They are complaining about a "lack of action" from the district council in urging Twigden to complete the work.

Cllr Smith said: "To be fair to the district council, while it may not have been as pro-active as we would have wished, the main stumbling block appears to be the unwillingness of Twigden to meet it legal obligation."

Meanwhile, Twigden's technical director Tim Barke told the district council in February that the "current situation was a major concern".

He said problems had been caused in the past when the original contractor went into receivership and the work had to be placed in the hands of a new contractor.

Mr Barke said Twigden was unaware of the work not being completed.

Payment for the work had been released to the contractor on the promise the play area would be completed in January.

In a statement, the district council told The Crow: "The developers are not required to pay the district council any money for the play area. It simply has to build it themselves in accordance with the terms of the legal agreement.

"We have been assured that the work would be completed shortly, but we will continue to chase progress."

In the planning agreement in 1997 it was stated that the provision of the play area, landscaping and an open space area had to be provided "prior to the occupation of 225 permanent dwellings or units of accommodation on the site, but in any event no later than three years from the date of the commencement of the development."

n In May 2007, residents took a case to the Local Government Ombudsman because planning agreements had not been met.

They were awarded £1,300 against the district council.

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