A developer failed to properly put back a cycle way and footpath it had dug up in Norton Fitzwarren despite repeated requests by Somerset Council over two years.
St Modwen Homes Limited had been authorised to carry out work in the area in 2021 by the Council which involved digging 20m down and connecting a manhole to the storm drain.
The developer pleaded guilty to four offences committed under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (NRSWA 1991) at Taunton Magistrates Court on September 27 and was handed more than £32,000 in fines and costs.
The court heard that St Modwen Homes carried out street works at Great Western Way in Norton Fitzwarren, and failed to reinstate white lines on the carriageway and footpath, along with red tarmac on the cycle path, contrary to section 71 of NRSWA 1991; also, from 10 January 2022 to 3 March 2023 (inclusive), the company failed to respond to various notifications sent by Somerset Council urging it to complete the reinstatement properly, and so failing to fulfil its duty under section 60 of the Act to cooperate with the Council in the interests of safety.
Further, between 26 September 2021 and 5 May 2023, the Council deemed the street works as “interim”, St Modwen Homes failed to make the interim reinstatement permanent within six months, as required by section 70(4A) of NRSWA 1991. Finally, between 26 March 2021 and 5 May 2023, the company failed to fulfil its duty to fully complete the reinstatement of the street works as required by section 70 NRSWA 1991.
The court heard Council inspected the site in late March to assess whether it was finished properly and in accordance to the prescribed standards. However, it was deemed to be below the standards expected and Codes of Practice made under NRSWA 1991.
In passing sentence, the court gave full credit to St Modwen Homes Limited for guilty pleas entered at the earliest opportunity and accepted the mitigation submitted. However, it found aggravating factors due to the long period of time of non-compliance with NRSWA 1991, despite numerous chases by Somerset Council; the street works were not reinstated until 5 May 2023.
The developer was fined a total of £28,000, plus a victim surcharge of £190 and costs were ordered for £3,866.50.