Topsoil row looks set to be resolved

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A row over substandard topsoil on the Maidenhill Primary School project looks set to be resolved.

Developers CALA Homes and Taylor Wimpey have confirmed they are working with council chiefs to come to a solution without the need for formal action.

The housebuilders had agreed to provide topsoil for the school from their neighbouring development to help save the local authority money on transportation costs.

But the council was then forced to shell out £67,000 to remove the topsoil after tests found it to be substandard.

A report into the deal revealed that the developers had agreed to take some of the material back and confirmed that the council was attempting to recover the cost of removal.

But a joint statement on behalf of East Renfrewshire Council, CALA Homes and Taylor Wimpey, said: “East Renfrewshire Council, CALA Homes and Taylor Wimpey continue to work positively together to deliver this key development.

“Claims of this nature are normal process on large-scale developments such as this, and it should not be assumed they will result in formal action. We look forward to continuing this partnership as we deliver this new school for the wider community.”

Council leader Tony Buchanan and deputy leader Paul O’Kane had to give urgent approval for the £67,000 to be spent removing the topsoil to avoid building work being suspended.

Mr Buchanan said: “It’s only right that we say that the quality of the topsoil should have been right in the first instance. The issue is still there that this is a contractual agreement which should be upheld and hopefully we’ll have a result on that.”

Councillor Caroline Bamforth called on the developers to fulfil their contractual agreement. And speaking about the £67,000, Danny Devlin added: “It seems a lot of money for topsoil. You’d be cheaper buying 40 horses and doing it naturally.”

A report presented by East Renfrewshire’s director of environment, Andrew Cahill, said: “Bam Construction Ltd has managed to use a substantial portion of this material as subsoil to mitigate the need and costs of transporting this material off-site.

“Cala and Taylor Wimpey have agreed to take back 1750m3 to their development site. Council officers are progressing with a claim against the developers, under the section 75 agreement, which states that they should provide ‘a quantum of topsoil on site’, which would recover the costs.”