An unsightly pile of soil has caused residents in Corsham to feel like they have become “trapped in a fish bowl”.

In recent weeks house builder Redcliffe Homes has been bringing in large quantities of topsoil to cover subsoil that had been left at the western end of Corsham’s Park Place.
As the soil mountain climbed higher, neighbouring residents said they had found their back gardens flooding and their open views literally spoiled as the heap rose above the level of their garden fences. 

Alerted by the residents, Wiltshire Council’s planning enforcement officers visited the site and declared the soil mountain unlawful. 

Cllr Nick Botterill, Cabinet Member for Development Management at Wiltshire Council, confirmed:  “Our Planning Enforcement officers have visited the site and advised Redcliffe Homes to stop work on this unauthorised development."

Corsham’s Park Place Residents’ Association chairman, Kevin Taylor, said: “People with houses bordering the area contacted us worried about drainage and their privacy – especially when they realised that people working on the mountain were level with first-floor bedroom windows.

“Then the recent heavy rain saw a number of flooded lawns with rainwater clearly visible draining off the soil mound and onto neighbouring property.”

Residents say the soil mountain has been created on what was previously flat land. “We were promised, and were looking forward to, a nice, wooded, area to the west of the estate, that would act as a refuge for local wildlife displaced by the construction and also serve as a natural green barrier between our estate and the next one,” Kevin added.

“However, nobody said anything about creating a hilltop area offering views over fences and into private gardens and homes. Surely that can never be allowed.” 

A spokesman from Redcliffe said: “As soon as we were alerted to a possible problem we stopped our contractors and investigated the levels. It does appear that our contractor exceeded the levels close to the housing for which we sincerely apologise to those living in neighbouring homes . We have asked our engineers to provide a detailed analysis, following which, the levels will be adjusted as required by the local authority as quickly as possible.”

The residents have vowed to contest any late application and want to see Redcliffe’s soil mountain “brought back down to earth."

Cllr Botterill added:  “Redcliffe Homes have said that they intend to submit a planning application seeking to retain the mound of soil. If the developer does submit an application then the council will have to consult with neighbours, the Town Council and other statutory consultees before taking a decision about the acceptability of the proposal.”