Fears over cracks and vibrations as work continues to turn Stafford factory site into housing

Residents living near the site of a Stafford factory demolished to make way for new housing have reported cracks in their walls, says a councillor.

The former Gec Alstom site off Lichfield Road, Stafford
The former Gec Alstom site off Lichfield Road, Stafford

More planned works have sparked further fears of vibrations and noise disturbance.

The General Electric/Alstom factory at Stafford’s Lichfield Road was pulled down a year ago. Up to 365 new homes are earmarked for the land after developer St Modwen was granted planning permission for the site’s regeneration in October.

Consent was given by Stafford Borough Council to modify the site access off Ranshaw Drive in December.

On Wednesday, the council’s planning committee approved the latest application, which deals with enabling works to prepare the land for the housing development.

Retrospective permission was given for the demolition work completed in early 2021. Other work given the go-ahead includes removal of slabs, remnant foundations, ducting and service corridors, infilling of basements, and opening and realignment of a section of culvert.

Robert Barnes, who spoke in support of the application at Wednesday’s meeting, said: “The scheme before you today is the final one in a suite of applications intended to facilitate the delivery of new homes on the site. It is solely enablement works and proposes no above-ground development.

“It will allow this important brownfield site to be remediated and prepared for regeneration more swiftly than would otherwise be the case. All of the environmental protections you would expect for work of this nature are secured by suggested conditions.”

Ward councillor Chris Baron called in the application for discussion by the planning committee because of the impact of noise, vibration and dust on residents.

She said: “I understand from residents and people who used to work there many years ago that there are some shelters that were used for air raids. This levelling is going to be even worse for residents in the area – noisier than the previous work demolishing the factory.

“While the factory was being demolished some of the residents suffered cracks in the walls and various damages to their properties. Surveyors did visit them but refused to accept any responsibility.

“I was daily getting messages saying the house was vibrating from various residents. Is there any possibility that these residents, where necessary, can be provided with monitors to monitor their homes?

“When you have got people living in their homes and constantly being disturbed and vibrations it is unbearable, not fair and intolerable.”

The meeting was told that additional monitoring points around the site boundaries had been requested by the council’s environmental health officer.

Councillor Ann Edgeller called for protected trees on the site to be looked after and raised concerns about drainage.

She said: “We have got major problems in that area. Only yesterday I sent a letter to the drainage people to find out what work was going on.”

Councillor Marnie Phillips said: “Is water running off going into a watercourse which is going to contaminate other areas? What happens if there are pollutants found? Who becomes responsible for that? And how do we prevent that from happening?

Councillor Frances Beatty said: “If the culvert is going to be a feature I think that’s an excellent proposition. I’d like to be absolutely certain that the conditions don’t allow the developers to change their minds, because one of the things we are aiming to do in Stafford is open up the watercourses for the purposes of ecology and people wanting to walk around.”

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