Express & Star

Darlaston residents caught in middle of legal dispute between council and developers

Residents on a Black Country housing estate have spoken about being caught in the middle of a legal dispute between a council and housing developer.

The residents have received a number of letters explaining the situation

The residents on the Wards Keep estate in Darlaston have received letters from both Walsall County and the Vistry Group notifying them of legal action being taken by Walsall Council against developers Countryside Properties, after ten alleged breaches of a Section 106 agreement.

The council claims the national housing developer is in breach of a planning agreement that’s intended to hand control of open spaces to residents at the recently built estate of 205 homes in Darlaston.

However, with all properties on the Wards Keep site in Heathfield Lane West sold, the developer has allegedly failed to stick to the planning application conditions granted in 2018.

Countryside, which completed a £1.2bn merger with Vistry Group in 2022, is accused of a lack of cooperation over ten separate breaches of the agreement.

The council says that despite the Section 106 agreement, the developer failed to hand over the land and management of the open spaces and continued to build the properties in breach of planning control which, the council says, includes eight houses that do not conform with the original plans for the development.

The residents on Basalt Lane, which surrounds a lake on the edge of the Black Country Route, were all sent letters about the dispute, with the Vistry Group letter from managing director Phil McHugh saying the legal action was against Countryside and not individual residents.

Residents on Basalt Lane have spoken about being caught in the middle of a dispute between Walsall Council and Countryside Properties
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