WHY is work still taking place at the new Hawk Rise estate in Ledbury six months after a High Court ruling that construction had to stop?

That's the question being asked by residents and councillors in the town.

Developer Barratt Homes has been criticised for continuing work by some people, but others have called for planning permission to be restored so the major estate can be completed.

A spokesman for Barratt said workmen were just making sure the partially-complete buildings were safe, but a councillor has accused the developer of finishing off show homes.

A Barratt Homes spokesman said the work was "to ensure that the partially complete homes meet our health and safety requirements.

“Once these works have been completed, no further construction will be carried out until we have received approval on a revised planning application.”

A Herefordshire Council spokesman said: “We allowed Barratts to weatherproof the three dwellings they had commenced. We are currently awaiting further information from Barratts about their planning application.”

However, county councillor for Ledbury Liz Harvey said: "Barratt were challenged by building control/enforcement about working on site without planning permission before Christmas and asked for permission to make the buildings they had started stable and water-tight for health and safety reasons.

"They have then gone way beyond that and have now completed a number of properties as show homes."

The access roundabout to Hawk Rise is also causing concern, particularly because of the lack of lighting.

Resident Gary Collis said: "With health and safety in mind, the roundabout should be finished too, with traffic lights and street lighting."

Gary Troy called the roundabout an "accident blackspot in waiting", and Chris Parsons added: "The roundabout is a shambles; it's on a slope, not wide enough in places and hard to see what's coming from the right coming out of Martin's Way. I can see a serious accident happening at some point."

Barratt currently lacks planning permission, having lost a judicial review brought by Meadow Cheese last year after the nearby food business expressed concerns about the impact noise from the factory could have on residents of the new estate.

This issue is still to be resolved, but a number of Ledbury residents think it is high time to complete the estate of 247 houses.

Lily Brown-Goode said: "Work should be allowed to continue otherwise we will be left with a churned up field."

Barratt was asked what would happen to the site if planning permission was not restored, but did not comment before we went to print.