South Hams District Council has today stated it is seeking an early court hearing over a breach of a temporary stop notice issued to developer Blakely Estates for work at the Lock’s Hill site in Kingsbridge.

Cllr Judy Pearce, leader of South Hams District Council, said: "The temporary stop notice was issued because the developer had started work before it was allowed to do so under the planning permission.

"It was also the case that the works that it had carried out were causing significant environmental damage.

"Having done so, the council is very disappointed that the developer has carried on with the unauthorised works."

She added: "As the temporary stop notice is not being complied with, the council is in the process of gathering the necessary evidence to prosecute the developer and all those not complying with the notice.

"The maximum penalty on conviction is an unlimited fine. The council will be seeking an early court hearing.”

John Freeland, a director of Blakesley Estates, on Monday disagreed that works had formally started and that as far as they were concerned everything was above board, saying: “We submitted all the paperwork which was received without comment and advised South Hams District Council that we would be digging trial pits to test the condition of the ground.

“If we stopped for four weeks because of the stop notice there would then be another delay, and at this point it is all political because of the pressure social media are putting on the site."

See tomorrow’s newspaper for more on the story.