DEVELOPERS behind a controversial housing development in Poole have voluntarily ceased work on parts of the site after an investigation found it was carrying out unauthorised work.

Retrospective planning applications are now being readied by developer Bayview Developments in an attempt to avoid legal action amid an ongoing enforcement investigation into their work in Meriden Close, Canford Cliffs.

As reported, BCP Council has been investigating the under-construction development since at least March and have found examples of unauthorised building work following outrage from residents who complained the properties had “got way out of hand” when compared to their application descriptions.

Residents in the privately owned cul-de-sac also claim parts of the development breached a historic restrictive covenant agreement.

Bournemouth Echo: Meriden Close in Canford Cliffs, PooleMeriden Close in Canford Cliffs, Poole

Following enquiries, a BCP Council spokesperson told the Echo: “The investigation is continuing in regard to Meriden Close. A Stop Notice has not been issued at the present time as work has voluntarily ceased on certain unauthorised works on site.

“The developers have been made aware that any works undertaken without the necessary planning approval are at their own risk and could be liable to formal enforcement action.

“The council have been in discussions with the developer’s agents in respect of the unauthorised aspects of the development and retrospective planning applications are currently in the process of being prepared for submission to the council in an attempt to regularise the situation, although there is no guarantee that planning consent will be forthcoming.”

Meriden Close resident Clive Crossley previously told the Echo: “Everything is being done incrementally. You don’t notice it until it’s there.

“It appears they keep changing things in the application.”

Bournemouth Echo: Development in Meriden Close, PooleDevelopment in Meriden Close, Poole

Developers were dealt a further blow recently when their application to fell 10 protected trees at the site was withdrawn after backlash from the landowner.

In February, a separate application to cut down four Lawson cypress trees, three western red cedar trees, two sycamore and one Rowan tree was submitted.

The application said: “These trees are of poor structural form. Many have damage to their main stems and have resultant decay extending into the main stems.

“Due to presence of mature, native trees in the woodland immediately adjacent, the removal of these trees will not damage the visual appeal of the area. In fact, it will improve it by removing the lower quality trees.”

Bournemouth Echo: Withdrawn proposals to fell 10 trees in Meriden Close, PooleWithdrawn proposals to fell 10 trees in Meriden Close, Poole

The private Meriden Close is owned by Jacgilden Properties Ltd who, while aware of the enforcement investigation, had not previously commented on the issue.

Following the tree felling application, director Gillian Brookes broke her silence with a damning response. She said: “Notwithstanding the ridiculous report which accompanied the application, which was without our knowledge, I am now stating that none of the trees mentioned in this application will be felled.

“Our own tree expert has reported that the trees are healthy and the developer has no right whatsoever to apply to have them felled. On behalf of my company, I demand that this application is withdrawn forthwith and a suitable apology for wasting my time and that of my colleagues.”

In a later communication, Ms Brookes added: “If we find that any of the said trees are intentionally damaged, we will not hesitate to take legal action.”

The trees application was withdrawn in mid-May.