Wednesday, September 11, 2013
‘Affordable’ housing has left residents of Meadow Court and Walland Drive in misery.
"How was I supposed to live without a kitchen or bathroom?"
PEOPLE in Woolsery have reached the end of their tether after two years of misery in their ‘affordable’ homes.
Broken doorframes, staircases not attached to walls, flooded floors and hefty heating bills are just some of problems faced by tenants in Meadow Court.
The 12 houses were visited by Princess Anne during the building stage in 2010 after the parish council fought for years to gain affordable homes in the village.
The homes, along with six in Walland Drive in Buck Cross experiencing the same problems, are owned by Magna Housing Association.
Tony David, who moved into one of the properties when they were completed in 2011, said he and his neighbours are struggling under ‘extortionate’ bills.
He said: “British Gas has told us our bills are around £400-£500 more a year than we should be paying because of the heating system that is fitted.
“Some people have had to turn their heating off and others are plummeting into debt.”
Mr David and his wife Sue have followed the complaints process and had their complaint upheld by the board at Magna, yet are still fighting to see any changes materialise.
Gemma Cook, who lives in one of the houses in Walland Drive, said she was left without a kitchen or bathroom when workmen came to fix flooding in her home.
“I had three children under the age of eight but Magna said they wouldn’t re-house me because they said I could still live in the house,” she said.
“How was I supposed to live without a kitchen or bathroom?”
Woolsery Parish Council has been left trying to communicate with Magna on behalf of the residents.
A meeting was held in November last year between tenants, councillors and representatives from the housing association after complaints reached boiling point.
“Magna gave a number of assurances which they have consistently failed to stand up to,” said parish council chairman Robin Edmonds.
Councillor Roy Turner added: “Everyone feels totally let down; the build quality is very poor. I find the whole thing absolutely devastating after we fought so hard for these houses.”
David Aldwinckle, director of Magna Housing Association, said: “We acknowledge that there have been issues at Meadow Court with some of the properties.
“The complaints have gone through our complaints procedure and those involved have been made aware that if they still feel dissatisfied with our response to the complaint, to contact the Independent Housing Ombudsman.”
“We have commissioned an independent assessment on the heating systems carried out which has determined that they are working as designed.
“The homes have been built to meet code level three of the code for sustainable homes, which is higher than newly built homes in the private sector.
“However, we sympathise with all of our residents over the rising cost of heating properties.”
Mr Aldwinckle said Magna would be carrying out minor improvements to the heating systems to increase their efficiency, and work was planned to start Monday.
He also said the problems with the staircases had been rectified but Magna had been denied access to one property to fix a door.