Housing developers under fire in Harrogate as MP highlights litany of problems facing new home owners

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Harrogate's MP has called for "strengthening action" against developers who leave residents in half-finished houses but his Lib Dem rival says it’s a bit rich after 14 years of ‘failing to act’.

Andrew Jones MP used a special debate in the House of Commons yesterday to call on housing developers to up their game.

The MP’s call comes amid a swathe of complaints to the Harrogate and Knaresborough MP from residents on new housing estates reporting unfinished drainage, no lighting, ill-fitting windows and many more issues.

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The debate follows several meetings Mr Jones has had with developers including Taylor Wimpey, Avant Homes and Harron Homes.

Harrogate and Knaresborough Conservative MP Andrew Jones said: “You wouldn’t think when you move in to a brand new home that you will be beset by problems with the house itself." (Picture James Hardisty)Harrogate and Knaresborough Conservative MP Andrew Jones said: “You wouldn’t think when you move in to a brand new home that you will be beset by problems with the house itself." (Picture James Hardisty)
Harrogate and Knaresborough Conservative MP Andrew Jones said: “You wouldn’t think when you move in to a brand new home that you will be beset by problems with the house itself." (Picture James Hardisty)

However, concerns continue to pile up with one resident reporting a snagging list of over 200 items while poor drainage meant others saw standing water pooling all the way to their front doorsteps.

Mr Jones said: “You wouldn’t think when you move in to a brand new home that you will be beset by problems with the house itself – gaps around the windows, guttering falling off, poorly fitted bathrooms and so on.

"Combine that with the scene outside your new home of standing water, unsurfaced roads, no street lights, unfinished play areas.“It’s just not on to move people into new houses – for many their first home – when they are full of defects and the estate roads look like the developers has just upped sticks and cleared off mid-job.”

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But his main rival in the forthcoming General Election claims Mr Jones is coming late to the issue once again.

Tom Gordon, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said only his party had real policies to tackle long-standing housing problems.(Picture contributed)Tom Gordon, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said only his party had real policies to tackle long-standing housing problems.(Picture contributed)
Tom Gordon, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said only his party had real policies to tackle long-standing housing problems.(Picture contributed)

Tom Gordon, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said only his party had real policies to tackle long-standing housing problems.

“After 14 years in Government it is clear that the Conservatives have failed to stop dodgy developers and the pain they inflict on new homeowners,” said Mr Gordon.

"The Conservative-run councils in Harrogate and North Yorkshire have consistently dropped the ball on planning matter, including failing to produce a local plan in a timely fashion, which lead to a free for all for developers.

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"This isn’t a new issue. The Conservatives have let developers get away with this time and time again, if they haven’t fixed this in fourteen years then how can residents trust their words now.

"Liberal Democrat MPs have led debates on this Parliament and tabled amendments to the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill that would strengthen the law to protect people against dodgy developers.

"If the Conservatives and Government were serious about this they would take the chance to strengthen the law now.

"I’m proud that the Liberal Democrats have passed comprehensive policy on tackling dodgy developers and have been leading on this nationally and in Parliament.”

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Mr Jones had told MPs in Parliament that his ‘fair deal for new estates’ campaign had resonated with colleagues who had inundated him with similar experiences in their own constituencies.

“Colleagues have told me how heartbroken purchasers are – many of them young, first-time buyers excited about their new home,” he said.

"I think it is important that developers realise that this is more than just a financial transaction for people.

"Allowing people to move into homes with problems on half-finished estates is letting people down in so many ways.”

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Mr Jones called for ministers to look at ways of strengthening action against developers who leave residents in a half-finished limbo, including better enforced building standards.

He also asked ministers to look at creating new apprenticeships to lead to better buildings.