AN MP has accused a developer of winching away residents cars without permission to start work on an 82-home housing estate.

He has criticises a council of failing to ensure planning conditions are observed at the site.

Pendle Tory Andrew Stephenson has raised concerns about McDermott Homes work at The Lower Rough off Windermere Avenue, Colne.

He claims that despite only starting on-site recently, the developer has already fallen foul of conditions attached to the planning consent as well as ignoring rules around the Lidgett and Bents Conservation Area.

Mr Stephenson said a bird survey had been 'rushed through' without the promised consultation with local community group Lidgett and Beyond.

He alleged that work had commenced before all relevant planning conditions had been signed off by the borough's officers, that the brook off Coniston Grove had been blocked with hardcore; and a large, illegal advertising sign had been put up.

Mr Stephenson said: “Several residents have contacted me to express their dismay at how Pendle Council is allowing McDermotts to ride roughshod over planning conditions and planning law.

"It’s important any disruption is kept to a minimum during the construction phase, but it seems as if McDermotts are doing the exact opposite.

"McDermott commenced work without notification to residents and winched away residents’ vehicles without the owners’ permission.

"I have raised my concerns with the council chief executive. I have also written to McDermotts."

Dean Langton, chief executive of Pendle Council, said: “We’ve worked, and continue to work with, the developer McDermott’s to address any issues which are likely to arise on a large housing development.

“All conditions which needed to be fulfilled by the developer before work started on site have been met.

“They’ve sought, where possible, to accommodate local residents when carrying out the bird survey. The council has visited the site on several occasions and can confirm that no ground nesting birds were observed.”

He added that a retrospective planning application had been submitted for the sign and the removal of cars to allow access on site was not a matter for the council,

Andrew Darbyshire, McDermott Homes land director, said: "A formal response to the MP's letter will be presented in due course with a reply to the points raised.

"We are always fully respectful and dutiful of planning law and civil matters and have been on all our developments in 27 years of building homes throughout the East Lancashire Region.

"We will respond to any issues requested by the local authority in a prompt manner."