BUILDERS have apologised after major earthmoving works were carried out on York’s Derwenthorpe site in breach of planning permission.

David Wilson Yorkshire East admitted the breach after Osbaldwick councillor Mark Warters claimed local residents had been disturbed by the use of heavy machinery and noisy ground work at the site of the 540-home development last Sunday.

Coun Warters said in a letter City of York Council: “I do not see why residents should face this situation on a Sunday and, while it appears to me that neither the developer or the council planning department give a damn, I do, and I will seek to take this matter up with the Secretary of State.”

The problems arose only weeks after the council relaxed planning conditions to allow weekend working, with the proviso that it related to “internal works” only.

Coun Warters criticised the decision at the time, saying it breached conditions laid down when planning permission was granted, which prohibited work after 1pm on Saturday and at any time on Sunday.

Planning consultant Jennifer Hubbard, writing to the council on behalf of the builders, said then that all work would be internal and any plant movement would be carried out within permitted operating hours.

She said there was a “considerable imperative” to complete phase one of the development by Christmas, not only for David Wilson Homes but also the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRHT), the organisation behind Derwenthorpe, in relation to public funding.

Coun Warters said yesterday he had suspected the works would not be restricted to internal or minor decorating works.

A spokesman for the housing trust, said: “JRHT has not received any complaints to date, but will address the issues raised with the contractor, to ensure they are compliant with the planning requirements.”

A council spokeswoman said the claims by Coun Warters would be investigated.

David Wilson Yorkshire East said residents’ enjoyment of their surroundings was paramount, and the builders’ aim was always to minimise any disruption when completing its developments.

“We apologise that work has been undertaken on this occasion outside of our usual working hours and we are working closely with our on-site team to ensure we minimise any further disruptions whist we complete Phase One at Derwenthorpe.”