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Court case of developer accused of misleading house buyers is delayed

PUBLISHED: 16:00 11 October 2018

Picture: DAVID VINCENT

Picture: DAVID VINCENT

Archant

The case of a Suffolk housing developer accused of misleading house buyers by omitting plans for a children’s play area on a large green space in Leiston has been adjourned until February next year.

Hopkins Homes and its sales and marketing director Lee Barnard are accused of contravening rules under Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

Barnard and the company, based at Melton Park, near Woodbridge, denied all charges when they appeared before magistrates last month.

On Thursday a plea and trial preparation hearing for the case at Ipswich Crown Court was adjourned until February 1 next year for legal argument.

The court heard that a slot for a six-day trial had been set aside for the case commencing June 17.

Hopkins Homes and Barnard, 42, of Suttons Road, Worlingham, are accused by Trading Standards of eight regulation breaches relating 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.

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.

The 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.

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