New-build problems on Corby estate 'outrageous'
A politician says she is appalled by the way new homeowners have been treated on a Corby estate.
Yesterday (Thursday) we exclusively revealed a catalogue of hundreds of faults with brand new houses built by developer Larkfleet Homes on the Priors Hall estate, with many remaining a year after they moved in.
Problems included leaks, cracks and subsequent damage caused by shoddy workmanship as well as unworkable solar panels, unusable gardens, water ingress, ill-fitting doors and windows, poorly-fitted bathrooms and issues with the timber frame.
We spoke to 11 families who went public after their pleas for help were ignored and promised repairs were not made. Many others have since come forward to speak of their own problems.
Beth Miller, Labour's candidate for Corby in next month's general election, said the problems residents have had to put up are outrageous.
She said: ''I visited a number of the residents affected about a month or so ago. I was appalled at the way they have been treated.
"I raised the issue with Labour's shadow housing minister John Healey to see if there were any ways we could amend existing legislation to give more protection to new-build owners, giving it similar protections to other goods or services. I also contacted the council to see what other options might be available. If Parliament hadn't been dissolved, I had a number of written questions I had arranged to be submitted by an MP with an interest in housing policy to the minister responsible.
''I'm not elected and don't have any resources but I do always try my best to try to help local people. If elected, with an office, staffing and with it as my full-time job, I hope to be even more effective in delivering for this community. If elected, one of my first actions will be to seek to get a debate in the House of Commons on this issue to get greater publicity, and ideally then look to ensure any new housing legislation would be updated to properly protect owners of new-builds.''
Many residents have complained about the quality of the work to Corby Council, but the authority says it is a private matter.
A council spokesman said their obligation was to make sure that the site is developed in accordance with planning permission and any terms such as a Section 106 agreement. They said any action they could take would be limited to these grounds and that they suspect Larkfleet Homes has breached neither.
The spokesman said: "Where the issues relate to property construction and snagging issues, this is a private matter between the property owner and Larkfleet and not something that this authority would be able to become involved with.
"Our building control service has received email complaints about quality issues, customer care and business practices which have been replied to with advice to contact the warranty provider and Trading Standards."
Any claims between years three and 10 usually go direct to the warranty provider.
A Larkfleet Homes spokesman said: “Unfortunately, some of our work at Priors Hall Park has not met the expectations of our customers and some of them have experienced problems with their homes. We appreciate that this is causing frustration for those concerned. We take our customer care responsibilities very seriously, with a system in place to handle issues in line with the consumer code. This is an ongoing matter, and it is not appropriate to discuss the details relating to specific properties or customers within the media, but every problem that has been identified is being dealt with on an individual basis with those customers concerned.
“We are progressing a number of inspections to find out exactly what is wrong and how this has happened, and we are working with customers to put those things right. We are also working with Local Authority Building Control, the provider of the warranty on these homes, to ensure that any work we carry out is completed to accepted house-building industry standards.
“Additional staff have been appointed to ensure that we carry out work as swiftly as possible and with the minimum disruption to residents. 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.”
The Corby and East Northants Conservative Association, Priors Hall owners Urban & Civic and separate warranty providers NHBC have all been approached for comment.