Homeowners' anger at 'eyesore' ditch on Persimmon Homes development in Three Valleys Way, Bushey

Watford Observer: Councillor Leslie Winters with irate householders. Councillor Leslie Winters with irate householders.

People who have bought new homes on a development site in Bushey are "irate" after moving in to find a ditch in their front gardens.

The residents all bought homes at Queen’s Acre - a development by Persimmon Homes which has involved building 121 new flats and houses in Three Valleys Way just off Aldenham Road.

Rajan Mehta moved into his new home in October, and said he believed the culvert would be covered over, not fenced off with a danger sign.

He said: "We bought the house before it was built, and we were told there would be a ground level feature but cannot believe what is there now."

Mr Mehta, 26, said he noticed the culvert a few weeks before he moved in, and when he brought up the issue with Persimmon Homes he was told to contact the council - who told him it was a necessary feature.

He continued: "In the plans it looked like there would be turf outside of our homes.

"The residents are irate at the situation, especially at the health aspect. We are worried the culvert will become a breeding ground for parasites and we do not want random organisms breeding outside our homes.

"This is our first home which has made the whole situation even more annoying. If we had been warned about this before we bought the house, we most likely would not have moved.

"The culvert not only restricts the space in front of our house, it could be dangerous for residents.

"It is not something people would expect to be in front of a newly built house."

Amadeep Virk, 28, moved into her new house with her husband in October, and said this situation has overshadowed the experience of buying their first home.

She said: "We knew there would be a culvert, but when we completed the sale we were told it would be covered with turf.

"Every time we have spoken to someone at the company, they do not know what will happen and we just want answers.

"The aftercare we were promised by the company is non-existent. We just want it covered so we don’t have to see it. At the moment there is rubbish in it, which is not healthy."

Mrs Virk and other residents are concerned that the value of their property has gone down as a result of the ditch. She continued: "The culvert is an eyesore - we look out of the living room and have to look at a mud pit. Persimmon homes should cover the cost of what we have all lost.

"This is the first house me and my husband have bought. When you move into a new home you want to be able to have your family around but all everyone talks about is this eyesore.

Bushey North councillor Leslie Winters said he would be calling a residents meeting to "resolve the issue without delay".

He said: "I have received many complaints from the residents of Queens Acre, most of which are the responsibility of the developers. Until now promises have been made and not kept."

Rob Phelps, technical director at Persimmon Homes Thames Valley, said: "The swale constructed caters for the flow of water from the development and Waterfields Way drainage channel in storm conditions, and is part of the overall sustainable drainage strategy approved through the planning process at Queens Acre.

Watford Observer:

The ditch.

"Following feedback from residents we are reviewing the design and will discuss with the Environment Agency and Local Authority in the near future to assess whether there is an alternative design that meets the objectives set down in the original planning permission."

Comments (5)

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1:58pm Fri 17 Jan 14

TRT says...

Wonder if that will affect their ability to get household insurance?
Wonder if that will affect their ability to get household insurance? TRT

3:17pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Suzanne - Watford says...

Swales are intended to slow down a rush of water by giving some of it the chance to soak into the ground. Swales are normally turfed with grass or other vegetation, so once the developers have turfed it as in the plans, it would just look like a natural dip in the landscape (or a ha-ha as around country houses). It should not be standing water, so they need not worry about breeding mosquitos. At worst, there would be occasional puddles. See pictures on Susdrain website. The main disadvantage is that litter can blow into the dip and has to be removed.
Swales are intended to slow down a rush of water by giving some of it the chance to soak into the ground. Swales are normally turfed with grass or other vegetation, so once the developers have turfed it as in the plans, it would just look like a natural dip in the landscape (or a ha-ha as around country houses). It should not be standing water, so they need not worry about breeding mosquitos. At worst, there would be occasional puddles. See pictures on Susdrain website. The main disadvantage is that litter can blow into the dip and has to be removed. Suzanne - Watford

5:24pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Popeonarope says...

Hydraulic controls are becoming more common place in new builds as it easier to put them in place at the time then after they are needed.
It will be well worth the wait in the long run as eventually it will be covered over and self cleaning, allowing excess water to be channeled away.
It is not as much of a eyesore as the mess a overflowing drain would be.
Hydraulic controls are becoming more common place in new builds as it easier to put them in place at the time then after they are needed. It will be well worth the wait in the long run as eventually it will be covered over and self cleaning, allowing excess water to be channeled away. It is not as much of a eyesore as the mess a overflowing drain would be. Popeonarope

10:02pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Mollie4474 says...

Suzanne, that may be the case but when you spend as much as we have on a house and you were told during that process that it would be an underground pipe with grass laid over it with trees and shrubs planted, to find 2 weeks before you move in a 10 ft ditch being dug 8ft from your front door it's the principle!! We were sold the properties on misrepresentation and I am sure pretty or not, if we wanted a water feature outside our houses we would have bought a house that we thought had one! The choice was taken away from us and given the choice most of us would not have bought them, a lot of people have young children and are rightly concerned. The water is stagnant and already has rubbish being thrown into it. With all due respect ntil you have experienced the underhand nature in which Persimmon sell houses its difficult to comment!
Suzanne, that may be the case but when you spend as much as we have on a house and you were told during that process that it would be an underground pipe with grass laid over it with trees and shrubs planted, to find 2 weeks before you move in a 10 ft ditch being dug 8ft from your front door it's the principle!! We were sold the properties on misrepresentation and I am sure pretty or not, if we wanted a water feature outside our houses we would have bought a house that we thought had one! The choice was taken away from us and given the choice most of us would not have bought them, a lot of people have young children and are rightly concerned. The water is stagnant and already has rubbish being thrown into it. With all due respect ntil you have experienced the underhand nature in which Persimmon sell houses its difficult to comment! Mollie4474

11:10am Sun 19 Jan 14

TRT says...

Well, you do have a point about Persimmon. I've come across them before many times, from the late 80s to today, from Southampton to Manchester, and there has always been complaints about them.
Well, you do have a point about Persimmon. I've come across them before many times, from the late 80s to today, from Southampton to Manchester, and there has always been complaints about them. TRT

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