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Welcome to Compensation Street: Traffic and noise complaints about a new road scheme has seen cash-strapped council forced to pay £5million of settlements to appease furious residents whose house values have been devalued by the din

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Traffic and noise complaints about a new road scheme have forced a cash-strapped council to pay £5million of settlements to appease furious residents whose house prices have been devalued by the din.

Packages have now been paid out to more than 1,000 residents in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

There are now calls to halt the massive house-building programme involving more than 7,000 new homes by some of Britain’s biggest builders. 

And residents have been are fuming that council tax hikes are funding the compensation package

Critics say their local services will be swamped unless more schools, doctors’ surgeries and shops are provided to cope with the influx.

Pictured is the old estate of Eastmoor (background) and new builds (foreground) with new road

Pictured is the old estate of Eastmoor (background) and new builds (foreground) with new road

Packages have now been paid out to more than 1,000 residents in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. Pictured: The new builds with the new road

Packages have now been paid out to more than 1,000 residents in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. Pictured: The new builds with the new road

Debbie Bennett from Wakefield, West Yorkshire who has been paid compensation after the value of her home plunged after a new road was built nearby to service a huge new housing estate

Debbie Bennett from Wakefield, West Yorkshire who has been paid compensation after the value of her home plunged after a new road was built nearby to service a huge new housing estate

It comes after Wakefield Council started looking for a Government bail out to pay £5million to residents whose homes were devalued by a new road scheme.

The 5km road Neil Fox Way, named after Wakefield Rugby League player Neil Fox, was designed to ease congestion around the 2,500 new homes at the City Fields Site.

Its original name was the Wakefield Eastern Relief Road, to take traffic off Doncaster Road. 

But as local Tory Nadeem Ahmed quipped congestion is so bad ‘the relief road needs a relief road’.

The route and site were formerly green space and common land with a dirt track across it. According to locals it was so waterlogged it should never have been built on.

Since it opened in 2017, council bosses have had to settle 1,075 claims for homes being devalued by traffic and noise.

One of those affected is grandmother Debbie Bennett, 52, a manager at local bookies BetFred.

She said: ‘We got it because of the lorries and anything. We were advised if we did not accept it there and then we would get nothing so we were kind of forced into it.

A manager at local bookies BetFred, Ms Bennett bought the two bedroom property where she had lived since 1988 20 years ago for £39,500 with a council discount

There are now calls to halt the massive house-building programme involving more than 7,000 new homes by some of Britain's biggest builders

There are now calls to halt the massive house-building programme involving more than 7,000 new homes by some of Britain’s biggest builders

‘It did reduce my journey to work but it has devalued the house.’ 

Ms Bennett bought the two bedroom property where she had lived since 1988 20 years ago for £39,500 with a council discount.

It is currently valued around £80.000 but nearby properties have gone on the market for up to £130,000. 

The new road is at the back of her rear garden where there were once fields teeming with deer.

She added: ‘You don’t seen any wildlife now and it has cost me a lot more than two grand. 

‘I already spent the £2,000 – it might just have been £1,700 – when I got it a few years ago so it has gone.

‘I heard the new houses are near a mine shaft anyway from when this was a pit town. You assume the land was properly assessed but we reckon there will be subsidence at some point.’

Her home was built during the 1960s. She continued: ‘It was all Green Belt land the new houses were built on and it should never have been sold off.

The latest owners to be considering a claim are Pat and Trevor Baxter, aged 71 and 63, who live just a few doors down from Mrs Bennett and bought their property two years ago for £125,000

The latest owners to be considering a claim are Pat and Trevor Baxter, aged 71 and 63, who live just a few doors down from Mrs Bennett and bought their property two years ago for £125,000

Residents have been are fuming that council tax hikes are funding the compensation package - so far paid out to more than 1,000 residents in Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Residents have been are fuming that council tax hikes are funding the compensation package – so far paid out to more than 1,000 residents in Wakefield, West Yorkshire

‘Some are happy renting houses around here but if they do decide to buy their homes they might end up with something that is not worth as much as they think it is.’

The latest owners to be considering a claim are Pat and Trevor Baxter, aged 71 and 63, who live just a few doors down from Mrs Bennett and bought their property two years ago for £125,000.

They said their dream home had been blighted by traffic congestion. Bakery worker Mr Baxter said: ‘We were aware of the scheme but were worried we had missed the boat.

‘There was literally nothing there before the new road and houses. Even in the summer it was wet and you had watch where you stepped so it shocked me they developed it in the first place.

‘You go for a bus in the morning and take your life in your hands. It is mad because people come off the new road at such a speed.

‘When we came to look at this place the estate agent assured us that we did not need to worry and they were not going to build in the woods nearby.

‘The main thing we are worried about is whether they are going to build in the wood. We were told they were not going to build houses at this end – but they are.

‘They should be building more affordable housing.’

The 5km road Neil Fox Way, named after Wakefield Rugby League player Neil Fox, was designed to ease congestion around the 2,500 new homes at the City Fields Site

The 5km road Neil Fox Way, named after Wakefield Rugby League player Neil Fox, was designed to ease congestion around the 2,500 new homes at the City Fields Site

Mrs Baxter continued: ‘The traffic is horrific. They use our road as a short cut and speed track. It is horrific just trying to cross the road.

There is so much building going on that you go past one spot and there is nothing there. Three weeks later there is a block of houses there.

‘We have got ten people living in a two bedroom house just down the road. They had one toilet and one bath. We need houses for social need.

‘They are talking about 3,000 more houses, as well as the ones they have already built, with no new doctor’s and no new dentist’s.

‘I have just cleaned my windows. I am forever cleaning them because I have never known a street as dusty in my life with all this traffic.’

Councillor Ahmed said: ‘The compensation is for the devaluing of the houses. Roads which had a traffic of 100 a day now have 1,500 in East Moor is the worst affected area.

‘The five million was raised by increasing council tax for the maximum allowed without a referendum.

‘People are paying the bill and not happily when the developers are making millions. The policy has created a lot of housing and the infrastructure is not there.

Critics say their local services will be swamped unless more schools, doctors' surgeries and shops are provided to cope with the influx

Critics say their local services will be swamped unless more schools, doctors’ surgeries and shops are provided to cope with the influx

‘Locals feel they have been done over. They saw 100 cars a day now multiply that by ten. They were told it was a relief road to make things easier for Wakefield not just to pave the way for more houses.

‘So they feel conned particularly since none of the new homes are particularly affordable. They are in the £250k to £300k range – not cheap for Wakefield.

‘There is always an argument we need more houses but you need surgeries and schools or this is knock on effect on the area.

‘The people who are affected are saying all these houses have been built there, the council have to pick up the bill and either the national or local tax payer will be paying for developers to make big profits.

‘I am not against profit as a Tory but I am against profit funded by the tax payer. They are a quarter of halfway through a mission to put 7,000 new houses.

‘Now they need to have a rethink. People who grew up in Wakefield are not getting the school places we want.

‘Residents at least need a new primary school or doctors’s surgery to compensate for 5,000 traffic movements outside their houses.

‘There is moves to get this money back from the Department of Transport but that is funded by the national tax payers. Meanwhile, the developers have walked away with millions.’



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