Digger sinks into bog at waterlogged Poulton building site

A large yellow digger sank into the mud on a building site off Holts Lane, Poulton, where 102 new houses were controversially approved by Wyre Council last year.

By Wes Holmes
Thursday, 17th June 2021, 12:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th June 2021, 1:07 pm

Council planners approved a reserved matters application, submitted by developers Seddon Homes Ltd and their partners, to build on the land in December, despite a number of residents raising objections concerned the state of the land.

Nine of the 102 homes approved are set to be affordable housing, consisting of five properties made available for shared ownership, and four one-bedroom apartments for rent.

Altogether, the site will contain four one-bed, eight two-bed, 66 three-bed and 24 four-bed semi-detached, detached and mews-style properties.

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Picture by Bryn Hughes

The digger, a 10 tonne JCB, was observed sinking on Wednesday. By Thursday, despite some reported attempts to remove it, the vehicle was halfway submerged in the bog.

Poulton residents responded to the sight.

Stewart Swan said: "And they are going to build houses on ground like that. They will all need piling. I wonder how deep they will have to go."

Sue Armstrong said: "I know, let's build houses on a quagmire. You only have to look at the type of grass growing to see what lies beneath."

Picture by Bryn Hughes

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Ashley Sorensen, of the Wyre Council Residents Concerns and Actions Group, said: "I wouldn't be surprised if Wyre Council continued to build and used the JCB for foundation. They seem hell bent on covering this entire region in properties, it defies belief. I've really aggrieved about it because they are destroying this area.

"They need to be held to account before Wyre becomes a building site. It's a gridlocked nightmare as it is and it's only going to increasingly become so unless something is done.

"Brutally honestly, nobody is happy with the development. From the feedback that we had had, we know the land was not fit to build on."

Picture by Bryn Hughes

He likened the situation to the lost Park Lea housing estate near Stanley Park in Blackpool, where 14 Fairclough Homes needed to be knocked down in the early 1990s just three years after they were built.

"They decided to built on known dodgy land, and within a few years the houses began to crack and sink," he said. "In the end Fairclough Homes flattened the whole lot of them, and people were like gannets coming from miles around, picking up everything that had been demolished.

"I'm not saying that this will be the case here, because that land, they will find any way to build on it. They will probably pile it to make sure they have enough land to build on."

In 2017, an ambitious scheme originally for 130 homes was approved for the Holts Lane lane, but was set back when proposals for a variation were refused by council planners in October 2018.

However, the applicants successfully appealed the decision with the Planning Inspectorate, and the project was set for 102 homes.

The original planning application received objections from nearby residents who raised a number of concerns - including subsidence of the land and flooding issues.

A Wyre Council spokesman said: "It is the responsibility of the developer to identify the ground conditions on their site and design the construction (e.g. foundations) of any buildings accordingly to ensure that the buildings meet the relevant building regulations."

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