Developers say they allowed work in Truro to continue in breach of guidelines to help struggling workers

  Posted: 15.05.20 at 17:36 by Richard Whitehouse - Local Democracy Reporter

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A housebuilder has said it allowed work to continue on a site in Truro on a bank holiday in order to help workers who have been struggling financially.

Stephens + Stephens was criticised on social media after it continued to work on last week’s VE Day bank holiday.

The company is building new homes on a development known as The Boundary in Truro.

Among those criticising the company was local Cornwall councillor Dulcie Tudor who said she had received a number of complaints from concerned residents.

She said that in allowing work to take place on the bank holiday the company was in breach of conditions of its planning permission which she says state that work is not allowed on bank holidays.

But the developer said it was allowing work to continue to help its staff and that it closed down the site as soon as a complaint was made by a neighbour.

Paul Stephens, managing director of Stephens + Stephens, said: “As everyone will be aware, all companies, and all builders, are working under a quite unique set of restrictions and requirements at present, many of which have put developments behind in terms of their timeline, causing distress for the new home owners, including those within the social housing programme, who are keen to take up residence in their houses.

“As the developers of The Boundary, Stephens + Stephens have been working hard to ensure the health and safety of our trades and builders on site at all times, in line with, and in many cases, above, the requirements set by the UK Government. Additional measures have been in place since the beginning of March to ensure the health and safety of everyone on site, as well as measures to ensure that everyone can continue working as smoothly as possible so we can complete the development, and so that the new Boundary residents can move into their new homes as soon as possible.

“We did open our site on Friday 8th May, the bank holiday, with the intention of a reduced set of hours. This decision was based on the request from a small number of our on-site team who are finding things financially challenging, as they have families at home, and given the current pressures on everyone, we took the view that we could meet their individual requests to be allowed to work for those reduced hours. In hindsight, we accept that this was not the right decision and as soon as we received a complaint from a neighbour in the surrounding area, we closed down the site.

“We all fully appreciate that neighbours are at home more in the current government lock down, and that they are having to work, and carry out home schooling as well. We are also very aware of our current contractors’ need to work safely. It’s a balancing act and we will continue to do all we can to ensure that all of our workers, and our team, are doing all possible to be as respectful, and as careful, as possible so as to create the most minimal amount of disruption whilst local residents and their families have to work, and school, at home.”

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