Homes built by toxic waste site set to be filled with families
Dozens of empty affordable homes built next to a hazardous waste site are now set to be filled with families on the housing list.
Earlier this year it was revealed by the Express & Star that almost half of the 111 homes built by construction giant Galliford Try on land in Walkmill Lane, Cannock, remain unoccupied after concerns over their close proximity to the site of waste management firm Axil Integrated Services.
The 48 homes are among 55 owned by housing association whg, with the remainder, which are not affordable housing, bought and occupied.
Homes England gave whg £1.3 million to provide the 55 affordable homes, which were given planning permission in January 2016.
Now Cannock Chase District Council's cabinet is set to nominate people on the council's housing list to fill the 48 homes – after risk mitigation measures such as a four metre-high 'heat shield' are installed.
Whg has confirmed that non-statutory risk mitigation measures will be funded – subject to planning permission – such as the heat shield along the entire boundary with Axil and the fitting of water sprinklers to 29 homes including an apartment block.
Two car parking spaces along the boundary with Axil will be removed to reduce fire risk and gated access to the apartment block will be installed.
In a report set to go to the meeting today, it says any individual offered a property at Chenet Chase will be "made fully aware of all the risk information beforehand" and if they refuse, it will not affect their housing application status.
A quarterly meeting will also be held with key stakeholders to review and monitor risk issues.
The council will also approve handing £100,000 from the New Homes Bonus Earmarked Reserve to whg as it has had to pay 100 per cent council tax on the empty properties.
In the council's report it says there were no formal objections during the planning process on the grounds of public safety, so there was "no justifiable reason not to grant this consent".
It adds that the operator – formerly Augean and then Axil Integrated Services – objected throughout but did not submit evidence to "substantiate the risks they identified".
But in July 2017 technical evidence was submitted to the council from Augean "that identified additional risks associated with fire and the release of toxic gas which could impact on residents of the new dwellings".
In the last 11 years there has been one fire incident and one hazardous materials incident on the waste site, a fire in 2009 involving an industrial shredder and an explosion in 2010 involving acid gas residue.
More evidence on risk has been looked at over the past two years and now once the risk mitigation measures are in place tenants can be nominated for the homes, the report says.
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