Housing firm and sales boss deny hiding plans for play area on estate

Hopkins Homes and its sales and marketing director, Lee Barnard, appeared at Suffolk Magistrates' Co

Hopkins Homes and its sales and marketing director, Lee Barnard, appeared at Suffolk Magistrates' Court, in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

A Suffolk housing developer has denied misleading house buyers by omitting plans for a children’s play area on a large green space.

Hopkins Homes’ sales and marketing director appeared at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, in Ipswich, to face prosecution by Trading Standards on Tuesday.

Lee Barnard and Hopkins Homes are both accused of contravening rules under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Barnard and the company, based at Melton Park, near Woodbridge, denied all charges and will face trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

Magistrates heard that Hopkins Homes and its director, Barnard, 42, of Suttons Road, Worlingham, are accused by Trading Standards of eight regulation breaches.


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Prosecutor Adam Pearson explained the charges related to misleading omissions in the sale of property at Kingsfisher Place, Leiston, between 2015 and 2016.

Barnard and Hopkins Homes are alleged to have engaged in a commercial practice with a misleading omission between July 1 and October 31, 2015.

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They are accused of four counts of engaging in a commercial practice which, by omission, was misleading, in that its factual context hid material information.

When marketing and negotiating the sale of four homes, they are alleged to have omitted or hid material information, or provided information in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner – that there was a binding plan to construct a children’s play area on a substantial portion of an undeveloped green area nearby, and that the information was likely to cause the average consumer to take a transactional decision they would not have otherwise taken.

They are also accused of four counts of engaging in commercial practice with a misleading action containing false information, which led the buyers of the same properties to believe the green area would remain in that state.

Charges relate to homes in Poppy Way between July 1 and October 31, 2015; July 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015; November 1, 2015 and March 1, 2016; and between March 1 and June 30, 2016.

Barnard and Hopkins Homes elected to face further proceedings in the crown court. He was released on unconditional bail until a trial preparation hearing on October 9.

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