Housebuilder agrees to remove 'incongruous' mound in new estate after losing enforcement appeal

Housebuilder Bellway Homes has agreed to remove an 'intrusive' raised earth mound it created in one of its housing developments in Stockport after losing an appeal against a council enforcement notice.

The 'incongruous' mound at the housing estate in Stockport
The 'incongruous' mound at the housing estate in Stockport

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council issued an enforcement notice against Bellway in March ordering it to take away the mound, which covers an area of open space, and make the land level with its surroundings.

The housebuilder appealed against the enforcement notice but planning inspector Debbie Moore found in favour of the council.

She concluded that the mound is an "incongruous feature that has an adverse effect on the character and appearance of the area", and breaches local and national planning policy.

Her decision letter, published last month, said: "I appreciate that topographical changes can enhance the appearance of larger areas of landscaping as part of wider estate design.

"However, in this case, the mound covers the majority of the local open space.

"It is relatively high and is uniform in shape with sloping sides. Rather than appearing as a feature designed to add visual interest, the mound stands out as an incongruous construction that dominates its surroundings.

"I saw that trees and shrubs have been planted towards the edges but this landscaping does not mitigate the mound’s intrusive appearance."

The mound was built on 0.8 hectares of open land created in a 2016 planning permission for 94 homes in the suburb of Offerton.

Bellway’s appeal against the enforcement notice argued that the council did not impose any conditions requiring the open space to be flat.

However, the inspector said that, "given its size and the nature of the works required in its construction, it is wholly reasonable to expect that this alleged planned design feature is clearly referred to in the design and access statement".

Moore also said that the mound would make the open space less usable for people with limited mobility.

She rejected an offer by Bellway to reduce the height of the mound to eye level.

However, one ground of the appeal was allowed – that the period of three months given by the council to remedy the breach was too short, and the inspector extended it to six months.

At the end of October, Bellway Homes wrote to residents, informing them that work to remove the mound would begin this month and be completed by April.

A spokesman for Bellway said: "We are disappointed with the decision but we will do our utmost to minimise disruption to our customers during the enforced earthworks operation."

Last month, Forest of Dean District Council announced that it had ordered a developer to demolish his 11-home scheme because it believes that two extra houses were built without consent

*NOTE: this story was update at 9.20am on Thursday 8 November to add a comment from Bellway Homes

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