Corby's new-build nightmare: "We had to stay in the Premier Inn - including our two cats"
A couple who moved to Corby from Hertfordshire have not been able to use their garden for a year and had to spend their first few weeks in the town squashed into a budget hotel after their build was delayed.
Jennifer and Alex Christison have three children children, Leon, 17, Rebecca,16, and Jessica, seven in different schools so they needed a house that was going to be finished by June so they could get settled in before the new school year. Leon is autistic so it was especially important that he felt happy in his new home.
They paid £262,995 for their home, moving to Corby from Hertfordshire for work. But their new life in the town became intolerable after a series of delays and mistakes by builder Larkfleet from who they bought their home on the Priors Hall estate.
Jennifer said: “We knew we might need some leeway so we planned on May or June in case there was a delay. My husband was starting his new job so we needed to be up here.
”We had to change all of Leon’s medical appointments and it was quite a complicated process."
But when their build was delayed by several months and after it dragged-on into the new school year, the family had no choice but the move into a hotel and put their worldly belongings into storage.
"Me and the girls were in the Premier Inn with our two cats. It was one room and there were no kitchen facilities.
”But we had to be up here because they had to start school in the September.
”Then we moved into the Holiday Inn. We were another month in there.
”Larkfleet did give us some money towards the hotel but not all of it. I was having to go to the launderette to wash the school uniforms.
"After we moved in there were problems straight away. They were still moving stuff around when we moved in. They were still putting doors on. But we had to move. We were in a hotel for five weeks.
"It was a case of, you let us move in or we can no longer buy the house.
"When we moved in they told us not to use the garden because they needed to level it off and put top soil on it but then it was discovered that the drainage wasn't done so it was basically a swamp.
"The weeds and grass grew as high as the fence so we had to hire a strimmer. And here we are, a year later, and it hasn't been done. We haven't been able to use the garden at all.
"It's the only safe access to the outside that our autistic son has. He's now had to start having vitamin D supplements from the doctor because he can't go outside enough.
"There's water coming through the front windows into the house because. There's issues with cavity trays, there's mortar in the cavity which is a big issue in a timber-framed house and instead of fixing it they just keep sending people to investigate.
"Every time they come and fix something, something else gets uncovered. They trailed expanding foam all over the carpets and the flooring had to be replaced. We're still waiting for a new front door.
"They say that this contractor is coming out to fix something and then they don't turn up.
"We just want it all fixed. We have too many issues that they have not fixed.
"It's bad enough when you're a straight forward family but when you've a child who has the issues Leon has, it becomes more difficult. We moved here so he could have some more independence and Larkfleet sold themselves as a family-friendly company. Their customer care is shocking.”
A Larkfleet Homes spokesman said they appreciated the frustration felt by those affected by the problems and that they would be carrying out a number of inspections to find out exactly how things went wrong so they could put them right.
The spokesman said: “We apologise unreservedly to those customers who have been affected, and would like to take the opportunity to thank them for their continued patience throughout this process.
“Any customers that need to get in touch with us relating to an outstanding issue, or would simply like an update, can contact [email protected] or the individual assigned to their case.”