Littleport, Cambridgeshire case study - Old gas tanks leak harmful chemicals into gardens

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Courtesy of Landmark Information Group

FAngry residents in Old School Close in Littleport, near Ely, Cambridgeshire, are facing possible blight as they cannot
sell or re-mortgage their homes after it was discovered in 2003 that the land beneath them was contaminated.

More than 20 houses were built adjacent to the site of an old gasworks in 1991. Homeowners have been advised not to eat home-grown fruit or vegetables or let their children play in the garden as the soil contains potentially dangerous levels of mercury and other cancer causing chemicals. The homeowners had been warned by East Cambridgeshire District Council that they could be liable for part of the clean-up operation costs because Regal Bourne, the housing developer which built the homes in Old School Close, is no longer in business.

Some years before now, a solicitor acting for a potential buyer, enquired at the council about whether the site could be affected by any possible contamination but there was a lack of clarity about the position in relation to planning consent for the development and possible existing impacts of contamination on a nearby water course.

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