Hopkins Homes denies misleading house buyers over play area

PUBLISHED: 09:58 08 February 2019

Ipswich Crown Court.  Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

A Suffolk housing developer and its sales and marketing director have denied misleading three house buyers about a children’s play area on a large green space on a development in Leiston.

Before Ipswich Crown Court today were Hopkins Homes and Lee Barnard who are both accused of contravening rules under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

Barnard, 42, of Sutton’s Road, Worlingham, and the company, which is based at Melton Park, near Woodbridge, are accused by Trading Standards of six regulation breaches.

They deny all the charges and their trial, which is expected to last up to six days, will take place either in June or October at a court which has yet to be decided.

The charges relate to misleading omissions in relation to the sale of three houses in Poppy Way, Kingsfisher Place, Leiston, between 2015 and 2016.

Barnard and Hopkins Homes are alleged to have engaged in a commercial practice with a misleading omission by omitting or hiding material information in relation to a plan to construct a children’s play area on a substantial portion of an undeveloped green area nearby.

They are also accused of three counts of engaging in commercial practice with a misleading statement, which led the buyers of the properties to believe the green area would remain in that state.

On Thursday Judge Martyn Levett dismissed two charges faced by Hopkins Homes and Barnard after hearing legal argument from barristers in the case.

One of the charges relates to engaging in a commercial practice with a misleading omission and the other relates to engaging in a commercial practice with a misleading statement.

The two charges relate to a fourth property in Poppy Way.

After Thursday’s hearing, a spokesperson from Hopkins Homes said: “We strongly deny the accusations that have been brought against us and will continue to challenge them in the Crown Court. As the matter remains ongoing, we are unable to provide further comment at this stage.”

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