People who live next door to a construction site where a man is trying to build his dream home while allowing workers to dig barefoot, have spoken of their “nightmare”.
Mustafa Matip, who is not a builder, has taken it upon himself to work as the main contractor for the new home construction project, in Gibralter Lane, Denton, in Greater Manchester.
After obtaining planning permission to build on the land, construction began, but the neighbors were outraged by the “fatal” conditions and the possible damage to the workers.
Shocking photos showed workers without shoes or socks toiling in the rubble-strewn site, and one of them arrested a worker leaning on a huge pit believed to be about seven feet deep.
Residents in Denton, Greater Manchester, were shocked to see workers on the construction site roaming barefoot through the rubble-strewn area.
The business was run by owner Mustafa Matip, who wanted to build his future home on the site along with what is believed to be a swimming pool.
Locals said they understood the pit would become a swimming pool as part of Mahebe’s dream home, which was to have four en-suite bedrooms, a kitchen, lounges for guests and families, a double garage and a gym/pool.
Failed excavations have left one property at the site near Haughton Dale Nature Preserve “unsettled,” according to the Director of Health and Safety (HSE).
Matip was successfully tried by HSE and given a suspended prison sentence at Manchester District Court.
Those who live nearby have spoken of their anger and frustration with what has been happening at the site since planning permission was granted several years ago.
One of the men, Ernie Lamb, said it was a “nightmare.”
Ernie, 77, said: ‘We’ve been here for two and a half years, and it’s been going on ever since.
I think it went on for up to four to five years. It’s been going on over and over again, and it’s causing a lot of annoyance here.
Residents say that the construction site and the large pits were filled with water after heavy rain, making them dangerous
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said the work led to a neighboring drug becoming ‘unstable’ and Matip sued.
I saw them working barefoot, everyone did. They were playing loud music too and we couldn’t really believe what we were seeing.
We kept asking how they move around this land, because, you see, it’s rough out there.
The whole idea was that it had a swimming pool and they dug it up and they closed it. But it rained heavily and filled with water. It should be six or seven feet deep.
It also had a really flimsy kind of wire mesh fence in the beginning and this area is full of kids and people who have dogs going down the river in the valley and were worried the kids would come in and start playing there. So I think someone complained about it.
Three different times, three different people came with JCBs to dig and start digging.
And the drivers would tell us ‘I don’t think he has any idea what he’s doing, he’s just telling us ‘Dig this, dig that”.
“I don’t think the suspended sentence and the fine would really mean much to him.”
John Holm, 59, agrees. He said the work “has been going on for years.”
“It was just an eyesore and a consistent mess,” John said. They dug a huge hole that we think was supposed to be the swimming pool and it just got flooded.
Probably the last time I saw people working there was when they had a booth last April.
One person said they saw workers at the site wearing “no shoes, no boots, no protective gear” and expressed concerns for their safety.
When we saw people working there they had no shoes, no boots, no protective gear. It really saddened me because they were just little boys and they weren’t properly protected.
It was an accident really waiting to happen. And I just don’t understand it and don’t see the point. I can’t imagine how much they spent on it. So either you build it, do it right, or you sell it. This is how we see it.
You obviously worry when such substandard work is carried out at your doorstep.
We weren’t too concerned about our house but in other parts around it the fences have basically collapsed.
And if I was the one living next door, I’d be pretty worried about my foundations.
It was really frustrating for everyone. And who knows when it will be sorted because it is still a dirty eye.
About the suspended sentence, John said: “I don’t like seeing people go to jail.
“Prisons are as full as they are, and going to jail will solve nothing, so I think unpaid work is probably the most appropriate punishment.”
HSE said Matip failed to prepare risk assessments and method statements detailing how to carry out work safely, failed to appoint a site manager with the appropriate skills, knowledge and experience and failed to ensure the health, safety and welfare of workers
John’s wife, Sue, 59, added: ‘It’s less of a burden if he doesn’t know what people think about how he should act about it. I don’t think the sentence is strong enough.
Shirley Hoyland, 57, said, “We haven’t been as affected as the others as we were here less than two years ago and we don’t condone it outright.
But you see a lot of people coming and going, and they blatantly didn’t have the right gear or equipment. It was very shocking and disturbing, yes.
HSE said it conducted a screening in August 2020 after neighbors raised “significant concerns” about the business.
A later investigation found that Matip had hired several floor workers to dig the ground before the new home was built.
However, it failed to prepare risk assessments and method statements detailing how to carry out the work safely, failed to appoint a site manager with the appropriate skills, knowledge and experience and failed to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the workers it said. .
Motayeb pleaded guilty to two counts under the Health and Safety at Work Act and was given a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.
Large, deep and unprotected pits were found, which means that there is an “expected danger of falling”.
In addition, the excavations were not adequately supported or battered to prevent the collapse hazards they added.
Ultimately, HSE said the work “endangered workers and made nearby properties unstable.”
Matip, of Allerton Road, Bradford, pleaded guilty to two counts under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
He was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work and paid £5,673.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector, Phil Redman, said: “Inspectors will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against duty-bearers who fall below the required standards and put their lives at risk.”