Sunday, 21 July 2019

Pair accuse housebuilder in protest at new estate

Pair accuse housebuilder in protest at new estate

TWO men staged a demonstration outside a new housing development in Sonning Common.

They were complaining about Linden Homes, which is building 50 properties at the Sonning Grove site opposite Maiden Erlegh Chiltern Edge School in Reades Lane.

Joe Tompkinson and John Rees own properties built by the developer in Wiltshire which they claim are not up to scratch.

The men carried out their protest on Sunday by holding up placards allegedly showing damage at their properties at the Abbey Farm development in Swindon and spoke to people who had come to see the show homes.

One placard read: “Buy Linden! You too can have a roof held together with tape”.

Another quoted Wantage MP Ed Vaizey saying in Parliament: “Linden are building homes that are literally falling down.”

Mr Tompkinson, 33, who is married with three children, moved into his property in December 2017.

The family had relocated because he had been suffering with post-traumatic stress as a result of his frontline work with Wiltshire Police and needed a change of scene.

Mr Tompkinson claims that just two weeks after moving in tiles started to fall off the roof.

The ceiling on an extension was too low. Linden Homes offered the family £1,000 to live with it as it was but they rejected this offer and said they wanted it repaired. 

Mr Tompkinson said: “We moved into a house that wasn’t what we bought. There were issues straight away. We discovered part of the elevation of the house had been built at the wrong height.” 

In March last year the family went away for a long weekend while Linden Homes worked on the elevation of the extension, which they use as a dining room.

On their return they found the ceiling had been removed. 

“We could see the rafters,” said Mrs Tompkinson. “You could hear flushing from the bathroom upstairs. They had put a beam in too low.”

The repairs were not completed until the end of April.

The couple asked other people on Facebook if they had experienced problems with Linden Homes and had about 60 replies.

In December last year, an independent roofing specialist carried out an inspection at the property on behalf of Linden Homes but Mr Tompkinson claims the company would not disclose the findings. But the developer has agreed to carry out correction work at the property over three weeks in August.

Mr Tompkinson claims that the en-suite bathroom floor is sinking and all the carpets need replacing because of a fault.

He said: “The treatment of families like ours is abhorrent. People need to know in order to make an informed decision about buying a Linden house.”

His wife Claire said: “The biggest thing for me as a mother is that this is our family home. This is where we live, it’s not just a building. We are entitled to feel safe and secure.

“We paid a lot of money for our house but we have no clue whether our roof will ever be fixed or not. How dare they do that to a young family?”

The National House Building Council inspected the Tompkinsons’ property last week after being contacted by the family.  Mr Tompkinson claims that at one point the house had 400 different problems, including cracks in the garage floor and micro-cracks throughout the house. 

Mr Rees, who is married with a six-year-old daughter, claimed he had experienced problems with the electrics and the drains, which meant the family could smell raw sewage for long periods.

He said: “We have had 18 months of sheer hell. We have had problems with every single part of the build.

“We were moved out for six weeks last year while they took our ceilings down.

“The treatment we have had has been disgusting. Many times they have made us jump through hoops to get things fixed.”

He said surveys were carried out to establish what work was required but it would not start and was instead followed by more surveys.

Mr Rees said: “This was meant to be our dream home and it has turned into a nightmare.

“It has put enormous strain on our family. I have been to hospital with a stress-related problem where my throat closed up.”

The pair intend to protest at other Linden Homes sites.

A spokeswoman for Linden Homes said: “We are aware of a number of reported issues with Mr Tompkinson’s home at our Abbey Farm development.

“The National House Building Council visited his property on June 13 and is currently producing a schedule of works required to ensure we have complied with its technical standards.

“We are committed to resolving any issues identified by the council that require attention and this willingness has been conveyed to the customer.”

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