Fight againt flats on contaminated land

Parents in Paignton are threatening to remove their kids from school if the development gets the go ahead.

Developer Midas Homes wants to build flats on contaminated land at Hollicombe's old gaswork site, which is next to Preston Primary School.

People in the area have formed the group Preston Residents and Parents Against Toxic Dust.

There are claims reports show the land contains potentially health damaging chemicals which could affect people in the area if it's dug up.

Midas Homes first put the project to the council in 2008 and were given conditions to meet before it could go any further.

Listen to our interview with Dr Andrew Robinson, spokesperson for the Preston Residents and Parents Against Toxic Dust group here.

In a statement to Heart, Midas Homes says,

“Extensive environmental investigations have been undertaken on the site to establish the level and location of contaminants present due to the site’s previous use. Independent environmental specialists have been appointed to prepare a detailed remediation strategy to ensure that the site can be safely brought back into use as a public park.

“This remediation strategy, which has been made available to the public, has been approved by Torbay’s Environmental Health Department, and the Environment Agency. The strategy has also been independently reviewed, on behalf of Torbay Council, by a consultant environmental specialist and the Health Protection Agency to ensure there is no risk to the public either during the remediation process or as a result of the works.

“We take our social responsibilities extremely seriously and have therefore appointed Morrison Construction, one of the country’s leading remediation contractors, to undertake the works. Morrison Construction has completed the remediation of more than 90 gasworks sites across the UK since the early 1990s - to the satisfaction of all relevant public authorities including the Environment Agency.

“Extensive environmental monitoring will take place throughout the works which will be independently assessed by the Environmental Health Department and the Environment Agency to ensure there is no risk to the public. Once complete, the site will be remediated to a high standard which will be validated by the Environment Agency, enabling the site to be brought back into use as a public park.

“We are extremely sensitive to the location of this site and its proximity to both existing housing and Preston Primary School and will continue to work with the local authority and the local community to keep them informed of the works which will be taking place.

“The proposed development aims to provide much needed homes and affordable housing on a brownfield site and the remediation process will remove the environmental liability left as a result of the site’s previous use. A new public park will be created as part of the development together with a number of other off-site improvements.

“The South West Design Review Panel, which offers expert and independent assessments of major building schemes, considered the proposed Hollicombe Brake scheme positively, saying: “… the Panel is enthusiastic about this scheme. The public gain it offers is considerable, decontaminating the site, reducing flood risk, and creating a public open space that links the countryside to the sea”

“A number of community consultations have also taken place and we have received considerable support for the development from members of the public who are keen to see the site remediated and brought back into use.”