Family’s ‘nightmare home’

NIGHTMARE: Karmen Lawson cannot fit her car in her garage on Westfield Street, Heckmondwike. (d111c245)

NIGHTMARE: Karmen Lawson cannot fit her car in her garage on Westfield Street, Heckmondwike. (d111c245)

GARAGES that are too small for a family car, neighbours racing home from work to bag a parking spot and threats of fines for parking outside your house.

No, it’s not a comedy sketch – it’s daily life for people living on a Heckmondwike estate.

Karmen Lawson and her partner Michael Robinson bought their dream home in the new development in Westfield Street, Heckmondwike, for themselves and their three children, Hannah, Hayyan and Heather, in July 2008.

At first the family was happy with their three bedroom detached home – but as developers Harron Homes continued to build houses, problems began to emerge – and neighbours began to fall out over the lack of parking.

Now homeowners have formed a residents’ association and have petitioned Harron Homes to create parking spaces they say they were promised.

Karmen said: “When we bought the house we were offered all sorts of assurances but since the building has finished there is no parking. We can’t even get our car in the garage. Our neighbours can – but then they can’t get out of the car because it’s too small.

“We don’t have a parking space. There is a space next to my house for visitors but nobody knows who owns it. The lack of parking is causing neighbour disputes – there is so much arguing over whose space is whose and everybody is fighting to get home first to get the spaces. Everybody is feeling the stress.

“We have had letters from the police saying we can’t park on the pavements and they will issue fines, but we have nowhere else to park.”

Neighbour Alison Matthewman said her car was almost written off in winter after another car skidded into it when it was parked on the pavement.

Karmen said: “The plans have kept changing – there was supposed to be a pathway that led to the children’s play area but that has been given to the neighbours who use it as parking. Now we have to walk out of the estate to get to the play area – which we have to pay for. People living outside the estate have better access to it than we do.

“We want to move but how will we sell this house? They sold us our dream home but the reality is a nightmare.”

Karmen said other problems included faulty fittings, cracks in walls, waterlogged gardens and garage doors breaking.

She said the residents’ association had written to Kirklees Council to ask how the development had been approved by planners.

A Kirklees Council spokeswoman said: “The planning application was considered and approved. As part of the consultation process parking provision and highway layouts shown on the submitted plans were considered and deemed acceptable.”

A Harron Homes spokeswoman said the developers sympathised but could not do anything.

She said: “Two thirds of the properties have a minimum of two parking spaces, usually a garage or car port and car length driveway, and the garages have been built to the industry standard specified. Only the smaller terraced units have only one parking space, however there are a number of shared visitor parking spaces.”

She said the estate was designed in accordance with Kirklees Council’s parking standards and minimum road widths and the roads were to be finished by the end of the month.

She added: “There is no spare land still in Harron Homes’ ownership. Any hard paved areas are to be adopted by Kirklees Council, and subsequently there is nothing further that Harron can do.”




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