Rhodesia dad-of-five says housebuilder has ‘mis-sold’ a dream

A father-of-five says builders of a new estate in Rhodesia have ‘mis-sold’ a dream - after failing to deliver idyllic features promised in their promotional drawings.

By Ben McVay
Thursday, 4th June 2020, 8:08 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 12:32 pm

Phil Travis bought a four-bedroom detached house on the Dormer Woods estate in 2018 after seeing an artist’s impression.

He says Walker Homes’ drawing of the 80-home estate showed a ‘lagoon’ which he describes as a ‘sump’ or ‘drain’.

While a bridge over the pool of water included in the sales image has also not been delivered.

The 'lagoon' on the Dormer Woods estate

Construction worker Phil told how homeowners on the estate agreed a payment of £250 a year each with Walker Homes for the upkeep of a green space near the entrance to Dormer Drive.

However he says the land set aside for a landscaped area - which was supposed to include a water feature and plants - is now subject to a new planning application for two ‘monster houses’.

Phil, 48, told how residents on the partly-built estate were in ‘uproar’ - especially as no notices setting out the new plans were posted on the estate.

He said: “They’re selling a dream they have no intention of carrying out - they’ve built a load of bungalows around a sump.

Phil Travis with wife Angie outside their new home on the Dormer Woods estate

“They sold homes promising a bridge over a lagoon but it seems the bridge has been abandoned due to cost.”

Phil, whose wife Angie is a paramedic, said roads on the estate were already struggling to cope with residents’ on-street parking.

However he feared building two ‘huge’ new dorma houses right next to the bottleneck entrance and exit to the estate would create problems for emergency vehicles trying to gain access.

Concerned Phil described parking as ‘somewhat on an issue’ within the development – with vehicles parked on the road unable to fit within the designated driveways provided.

He said: “By erecting further dwellings this will worsen the current situation and will hinder the access of vehicles to the residents.

“The two new properties will be situated immediately at the entrance and exit to the whole site consisting of 80 dwellings – with no other means of exit and entry.

“I can envisage disruption and access problems for emergency services commercial vehicles, bin collection and residents of the whole site permanently.”

Phil said Walker Homes’ original planning statement conjured a vision of ‘a desirable local community surrounded by woodland and other open space landscaping areas to create a sense of luxury’.

However, he said ‘we now feel the additional dwellings which are proposed are going to contradict the standard of the development’.

He added that although some minimal tree planting had been done the remainder of the site was now ‘overpowered by residential properties’.

He said: “It just seems the builders have zero morals - most of the people living here are elderly and have worked hard all their lives. This just doesn’t seem right.”

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A spokesman for builder Walker Homes said Dormer Woods was still under construction and once complete in the spring of 2021 it would include landscaped communal areas and further work on the lagoon.

He said: “The lagoon is required on the estate to aid the water attenuation – which is a planning requirement of all new housing developments and may only contain water during heavy rainfall periods.

“The lagoon at this stage is still under construction with works that are still outstanding - including further planting to the lagoon and its base which should form a dense reed bed and a natural habitat.

“When the lagoon is completed it should be a focal point at the development for all residents to enjoy and in addition to this the path around the lagoon will be connected to further paths around the development to provide extended walking areas – the artist’s impressions of a bridge over the lagoon was always subject to change.

“As the development has progressed over the last two years there have been various planning amendments that have enhanced the overall aspect of the development and have reduced the number of homes on the site by four units - which has reduced the amount of vehicles on the development.

“With regards to the two new gate houses that we are looking to construct near the site entrance - these proposed homes will greatly improve the appearance of the site from the existing Shireoaks Road making the development more welcoming.

“Walker Homes is an independent House Builder and we take all feedback on board and try to resolve all issues that arise with a fair and responsible approach.”

The spokesman added that the ‘estate service charge’ of £250 was for the management of the estate.

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