Nightmare new homes in Rainham estate have leaks, damp and bad wiring

PUBLISHED: 08:12 25 January 2016 | UPDATED: 08:12 25 January 2016

Residents in Orchard Village have had major housing problems with heir new-build homes. Colin Nickless at 3 Broadis Way with his daughter Ellie, four

Residents in Orchard Village have had major housing problems with heir new-build homes. Colin Nickless at 3 Broadis Way with his daughter Ellie, four


Owners of new homes on an £80million housing development have been hit with leaks, damp and light bulbs that won’t turn off.

What they said about the problems

Circle Housing:

Iain Taylor, regional development director: “We are working to resolve these issues as quickly as possible and are sorry for the inconvenience. Along with our contractors, we have carried out urgent repairs at the four homes which reported problems to us.

“We will redecorate and replace damaged carpets and do a full inspection of the 28 homes to ensure there are no further issues.”

Willmott Dixon:

“We have two people on site to resolve any issues. We take customer care very seriously and our team will ensure that any further work that is required will be done promptly.

“We’re proud of the hundreds of homes we’ve built over many years to create Orchard Village with Circle, and are applying utmost urgency to resolve the issues.”

MP Jon Cruddas:

“I spent Friday evening going through a whole series of cases with residents. This is very serious and I have taken all the cases up with the chief executive. These were not problems you would assume you should get with new builds and I am determined to get to the bottom of this because they are not isolated cases.”

Residents of Orchard Village, Rainham, have endured problems since they moved in last summer.

Colin Nickless, 40, is a home carer for his daughter Eleanor, four, who has autism and cystic fibrosis. He, his wife Jessica, 38, Eleanor and her little brother Freddy, two, moved to Broadis Way in August from Devon.

Since then, they have had 30 visits from contractors over defects in their shared ownership home, for which they paid £75,000.

In December, Colin was so fed up he went knocking on neighbours’ doors to see if they were in the same boat, and discovered almost all of the people in the 28 homes had experienced similar problems.

“We’ve got damp, mouldy carpets. If my daughter gets the fungus in her lungs, the best case scenario is she’s in hospital for two weeks and worst case is she needs a lung transplant,” said Colin.

“There’s a complete disregard for people’s health. It took five visits to fix a leak and another five for a problem with the balcony light. There was a bulb on the landing that didn’t turn off.

“When we moved in, three pipes weren’t connected properly in the toilet. There can’t have been any thorough testing. If there was, how would these problems be missed?

“As a parent you are left wondering if the house is safe to live in.”

Housing association Circle Housing has admitted the houses were not built to the expected standard by contractors Willmott Dixon, and is now fixing the problems after emails from Colin which were also sent to MP Jon Cruddas and BBC Watchdog.

Another couple, who have two young children, came home late one night in December to find water gushing through the ceiling and called an emergency number, only to be told to call a plumber.

“There was water in the lightbulb,” said the resident, who did not want to be named. “We were soaking up buckets of water from the carpet with a water hoover.

“We are concerned about the future. The guarantee is only for one year, so if something goes wrong after that we have to pay. It’s a brand new house, you don’t expect these things.”

Another neighbour, who bought her house outright, had Christmas presents ruined by a leak.

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