Suffolk based property developer fined
Suffolk Trading Standards has successfully brought a case against Hopkins Homes Ltd.
Suffolk Trading Standards has successfully brought a case against Hopkins Homes Ltd, in reference to a children’s playground area which forms part of a new Leiston housing development.
Hopkins Homes pleaded guilty to three offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations at Norwich Crown Court on Thursday 4 July 2019 accepting that some related information was omitted by mistake in some of the initial marketing materials provided to customers. All parties accept that full details of the size and location of the play-area were contained in the documents sent to the solicitors of all the customers in advance of purchase and all parties in court today recognised that there was no intention to mislead.
Hopkins Homes have been fined £3,000, ordered to pay £15,000 in costs and also agreed to pay £3,000 to each of three homeowners as a goodwill gesture.
Tony Doorly, Senior Trading Standards Officer, said:
“Situations like this highlight the need for property developers and estate agents to provide clear and consistent information when dealing with prospective buyers.
“Following the initial allegation, we discovered other residents who were in a similar situation. They felt they had been misled by the information given to them when making their initial enquiry about the properties. Some indicated that they would not have purchased their house, if they had been made aware of plans for the play area.
“One owner had bought a house on behalf of her elderly mother, who wanted a quiet retirement, but felt this wasn’t now possible. Another homeowner felt unable to leave or enter their house due to the increase in the number of people and the potential risk of injury.”
Councillor Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Environment and Public Protection, said:
“Buying a house is a significant expense, which often comes with a large amount of stress. This situation only added to the residents’ concerns, with some feeling unable to use their home or their families have been disturbed.
“Suffolk Trading Standards is committed to ensuring that consumers are not misled when buying goods, services and property.”
When purchasing a house, make sure that you specifically ask your solicitor to check for future development plans in the area. It is also recommended that you also get statements from developers in writing.
Further advice can be sought from the national Citizen’s Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506.