A NEIGHBOURHOOD Watch group is calling on developers, local authorities, police and elected officials to “do your job” to prevent residents living in limbo for the next five years.

People being knocked over by contractors, crime, poor lighting, dangerous parking, speeding and animals being injured are just some of the many issues that the Picket Twenty group are reporting.

But despite attempts at making the developer and relevant authorities aware, members say no one is taking responsibility.

Now in the fourth phase of development, the group maintains that a number of issues are because Persimmon, the developer, has not fully completed the earlier phases before moving on to the next.

If the problems are not tackled then someone will get hurt, they say.

It is alleged that twice since Christmas, in two separate incidents, people have been knocked over by contractors driving construction vehicles.

The Advertiser understands that no serious injuries were sustained but that one incident happened near to Pilgrims' Cross Primary School in the centre of the estate and that the victim had to have time off work because of their injuries.

“It happened outside a school,” said Neighbourhood Watch secretary Michelle Buckenham.

“It could be a child next time.”

It is believed that both incidents were reported to Persimmon and the police, but no further action was taken.

When asked to comment by this paper, the developer denied being aware of the incidents.

Concerns about suspicious behaviour indicative of drug dealing on the estate have also been flagged-up to the group, which they have reported to the police, but no action appears to have been taken.

Commenting on policing of the estate, Chief Inspector Kory Thorne, Test Valley District Commander said: “Our approach to policing Picket Twenty is no different to other areas of Andover.

“We respond in a proportionate manner to incidents and intelligence that are reported to us and we use a range of tactics within our resource levels to keep Andover as a safe place to live and work.”

The Neighbourhood Watch has also voiced the issue that residents do not feel safe at night because many of the street lights installed do not work.

People have been allotted parking spaces in communal car parks, but some of the streetlamps are said not to be even wired, leaving people feeling vulnerable using the car parks and footpaths throughout the estate in the dark.

Deputy chairman of the group, Glen Boakes, said: “My wife won’t drive after dark as there is no light in our car park and she doesn’t feel safe. None of the other women in our block will.”

“If they expect people to park in a communal car park then provide lighting,” added Mrs Buckenham.

Persimmon have also been approached with complaints about the road network, as the early phases of the development still have a temporary road surface with high kerbs and no dropped pavements which have been lined extensively with double yellow lines.

Resident Wendy Colwell said: “The high kerbs are a nightmare. I use a mobility scooter and I have to ride in the road because there are no dropped kerbs.”

Despite the double yellow lines, parking continues to be a problem with cars parked dangerously on corners, pavements and verges.

Other vehicles struggle to get through, which is raising concerns about emergency service access.

In the future it will be Hampshire County Council who will be responsible for road maintenance and Test Valley Borough Council who enforce parking restrictions, but both authorities have confirmed that until the roads have been through the adoption process after the completion of the development, these factors remain Persimmon’s responsibility.

A spokesperson for HCC said: “Hampshire County Council has not yet adopted any roads in the Picket Twenty estate and so does not maintain them – this is the responsibility of the developer.”

Building has been underway for the last seven years and is expected to take around another five years to complete, but HCC have said that their adoption of the roads could take a number of years following completion.

Until then HCC will not be responsible for gritting roads in winter. Persimmon have however confirmed to this paper that they are working on getting some of the completed roads adopted earlier than at the completion of the development.

Although South Central Ambulance Service could not confirm any specific incidents of emergency services struggling to access the estate, a spokesperson advised against the dangers of blocking roads.

They said: “Obstructing an emergency vehicle is a criminal offence. We would encourage residents and visitors to Picket Twenty to always park considerately so that everyone has access to where they need to go.

“That is even more important for emergency vehicles responding to incidents and, in the ambulance service’s case, any delays really can affect the survival rates of people suffering a life-threatening emergency.”

Speeding through the estate is another issue despite speed limit signs being in place.

Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator and resident Maria Hardy, said: “There is one particular courier driver who speeds through the estate. I’ve reported it to the police on numerous occasions, but nothing seems to be done.”

With residents paying between £600 to £800 per year in maintenance charges the group feels that the standard of upkeep by Persimmon-appointed contractors falls below par with reports of injuries to dogs paws because of rubble underneath the green spaces coming through and broken wooden bollards which have seen at least one young boy injured.

TVBC have confirmed they are responsible for Urban Park, Quicksilver Way Park and Harewood Common but not other green areas.

Addressing the frustrating position that the Neighbourhood Watch finds themselves in, chairman Adam Buckenham, said: “These problems have to be stopped before anyone gets hurt. We just need people to do their job and to stand up and say this isn’t good enough, but instead we are being passed from pillar to post.

“All we are trying to do is is look after our community, we are residents just like everyone else. The only difference is that we are putting our heads above the parapet and saying this isn’t good enough. We are trying to create a community and encouraging people to work together to make it a nicer environment for everyone. Deputy chair Mr Boakes added:

“The main problem is lack of communication and lack of responsibility.

“We are trying to encourage the Neighbourhood Watch to look after the community, support each other and be vigilant,” said Mrs Buckenham.

“But it gets to the point where you feel that you are on your own because no one wants to take responsibility.”

The group has also contacted MP for North West Hampshire, Kit Malthouse, who said he has been in contact with Persimmon several times in recent years following complaints from constituents, but despite his intervention little has been done to improve the situation.

Mr Malthouse said: “We have made some progress but there is still a lot of frustration from residents, which I share, at the sluggish progress on issues like formal adoption of the roads and street lighting. I will continue to badger them until we get final resolution.”

Andover town councillor, Andy Fitchet, who has been supporting the Neighbourhood Watch, said: “The residents of Picket Twenty have done a fantastic job in successfully running their local Neighbourhood Watch.

“Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for their elected representatives, housing associations and the developer.

“Time and time again, simple issues, like finishing road surfaces, connecting streetlamps, providing grit bins, and contractors driving safely are not being dealt with and the stakeholders keep blaming each other and claiming the issues are someone else’s responsibility.

“It’s high time they got together and worked with the residents to sort these issues out and not leave the residents in the dark.”

What Persimmon say:

A spokesperson for Persimmon Homes South Coast, said: “We are disappointed to hear that Picket Twenty Neighbourhood Watch have concerns about the development.

“If they would like to contact us direct we are more than happy to discuss specific areas with them.

“We have not received any reports of people or pets being injured on the development. Health and Safety is our highest priority, so any incidents should be reported to us immediately in order that they can be thoroughly investigated.

“The majority of the main open spaces have been handed over to Test Valley Borough Council, who are responsible for their ongoing maintenance. Again, any incidents reported to us would be investigated.

“All properties have allocated parking. We have introduced double yellow lines on key routes to ensure safe access is maintained for buses and emergency vehicles.

“We are working to ensure all completed areas are handed over to the management company and that the areas are being managed to an acceptable standard. We have not received any reports of injuries but, if there are cases of vandalism to bollards, we would ask residents to report them to us so we can ensure the damage is rectified as quickly as possible.

“We are working with Hampshire County Council to enable the adoption of roads on earlier phases, although final surfacing cannot take place in areas where construction work is still ongoing. The vast majority of street lighting is in place and operational and we are continuing to work with Southern Electrical Contracting to complete the installation of the remainder. Where occupiers are aware of bulbs that need replacing these can be reported to our Customer Care team.

“Persimmon Homes and Charles Church continue to work in co-operation with Hampshire County Council and Test Valley Borough Council to finish all areas of the development and we have given assurances to the residents that we will not leave the site until all work is completed.

“Given the scale of the Picket Twenty development project, this progress needs the co-operation and understanding of all parties involved.”