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Blossom Grove estate, Teynham: residents unhappy with unfinished pond which attracts rats

Homeowners say they have been “sold a dream” which hasn’t become a reality as they contend with their properties being invaded by rats.

People living on the Blossom Grove estate in Teynham say a pond and orchard were meant to be an attractive addition to the place but are now a “breeding ground for rats”.

Residents of Blossom Grove estate and the surrounding area. From left: Dave Samworth, Lauren Samworth, Lynne Donkin and Stephen Creed
Residents of Blossom Grove estate and the surrounding area. From left: Dave Samworth, Lauren Samworth, Lynne Donkin and Stephen Creed

A Hyde Group brochure advertising the development includes CGI pictures of what the affordable houses are supposed to look like, with an attractive pond in the centre of the estate.

But years after some moved in, it’s nothing more than a water-filled ditch surrounded by tall metal fencing.

The home provider apologised for the work taking longer than planned but said Blossom Grove will be finished.

Meanwhile, the developer behind the scheme – Crest Nicholson Eastern – said it was working to finalise the details for new plans for the pond.

The Hyde Group’s brochure says the properties are set “either side of an established orchard and a pond” which form the “heart of Blossom Grove”.

However, neither of these look the way buyers expected them to, despite the plans being approved by Swale council in December 2018.

How The Hyde Group brochure shows the entrance to the Blossom Grove estate compared with the entrance at the moment

Lynne Donkin, who has lived in Marconi Cresent for almost four years, says the estate was “sold as the dream place to live but it’s not”.

The 38-year-old said she feels guilty she has had to kill rats which are “breeding in the pond”.

She said: “I feel guilty but I cannot afford the expensive vet bills which have come from them biting my dog, which has happened twice.

“At the moment, I have only caught baby rats so I don't where the adults are.”

Another Marconi Cresent resident, Lauren Samworth, has experienced similar problems with rodents burying underneath her garden fence.

A CGI of the Blossom Grove pond and what the pond looks like five years after the plans were approved

The 29-year-old mum of two has placed traps to catch the vermin but says they “keep on coming even when we catch them”.

Lauren added: “The pond is embarrassing when we have people over. It looks like a grenade has gone off in the middle of the estate.

“It feels like the developers haven't finished the development but at this point, it would be better to fill in the hole.

"When we moved in I knew there might be a few rats as we are in the countryside but we have seen so many. Even though we have killed loads, they keep coming back."

Her father, Dave Samworth, 66, says temporary metal fencing around the pond is an “eye-sore”. It was put in place for safety but he feels it is devaluing the house Lauren moved into two years ago.

Lauren says she has caught two rats at the moment, a neighbour has killed four but another person living in Marconi Close, Claire Scullin-Vines, brought in a pest control firm and the contractor killed dozens.

Claire said: "We had an exterminator out and they reckon they killed 50 rats but they are still coming back. I can see them hopping around my lawn.”

One resident of Noble Close, which sits at the front of the development, is Stephen Creed who has lived in the area for 40 years.

The 72-year-old says rats have chewed through his electrical wires.

Some of the rats caught in Blossom Grove
Some of the rats caught in Blossom Grove

However, other Teynham villagers have complained their “once idyllic” home has become a “dumping ground” for housing developments.

The 130-home Blossom Grove estate is the latest housing development in the area and was built on the back of the existing Station Road and Noble Close.

In May, it was announced that work on an access road to another proposed development was due to start.

Housing developer Chartway Partnerships Group confirmed construction was set to begin off Frognal Lane after it received outline planning permission for 300 homes.

Then, a month later in June, another 380 homes on land near a business park close to the village were approved.

Cllr Lloyd Bowen says residents have been let down. Picture: Swale council
Cllr Lloyd Bowen says residents have been let down. Picture: Swale council

Cllr Lloyd Bowen, who represents Teynham and Lynsted on Swale council, says the developers have “let down” both residents of the new estate as well as those in Noble Close and Station Road.

He added: “Progress on the estate has not been what has been expected.

“While all the houses have been built, there are outstanding issues with the car park, the pond and the overgrown orchard.

“Altogether it doesn't give the residents the impression of a homely place.”

A Hyde Group spokeswoman said the company was still working with the developers to finish the estate.

The orchard which has been advertised in Hyde’s brochure
The orchard which has been advertised in Hyde’s brochure

She said: “We’re sorry the work at Blossom Grove has taken longer to complete than we had planned.

“We’re working with our contractor, Crest Nicholson, to get the work finished.

“Crest Nicolson has given us an action plan to deal with the issues raised and we’ll keep our customers updated on progress.”

A Crest Nicholson spokesperson said they were aware of the issues after a routine inspection.

They added: “We are working with landscapers to finalise details on new plans for the pond to rectify this and will be attending the site to begin the appropriate works in due course.”

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