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Councillor calls for Rainham’s problem-ridden Orchard Village to be demolished

PUBLISHED: 10:18 27 January 2017 | UPDATED: 10:30 27 January 2017

Orchard Village, Rainham

Orchard Village, Rainham

Archant

A councillor called for a problem-ridden housing estate to be pulled down, while speaking at Wednesday’s full council meeting at Havering Town Hall.

Orchard Village Rainham resident Colin Nickless had to open a case with an independent watchdog after receiving extortionate energy bills.Orchard Village Rainham resident Colin Nickless had to open a case with an independent watchdog after receiving extortionate energy bills.

Cllr Phil Martin (Ukip, South Hornchurch) asked cabinet member for housing, Cllr Damien White, for an update on what steps had been taken to assist residents.

November’s full council meeting saw a motion put forward to ensure measures were put in place to deal with the repeated failures of Orchard Village developers.

“Residents’ lives have been blighted by the sub-standard building work that has taken place,” said Cllr Martin at Wednesday’s meeting.

“The only solution is its demolition and complete reconstruction.”

Cllr White said residents should be provided with the highest possible quality of accommodation.

But, he added: “If properties are not built to specification this falls outside the scope of housing revenue.

“Every avenue that can be taken is being taken.”

The councillor said the council is “pushing” Clarion Housing – formerly Circle Housing – to rectify the problems.

The social housing estate in Rainham has been beset by problems, leading Rainham and Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas to raise concerns in the House of Commons.

The Recorder previously reported that a Freedom of Information request revealed gas membranes fitted to the foundations of the buildings were damaged.

The documents show notes of inspections presented to the council, before it awarded the certificate of completion, reading “gas getting by” and “gas membrane to be made good”.

Cllr White continued: “The council is working strenuously to facilitate improvements with the owners of the site, Clarion Housing, and will continue to work with them to seek early redress of these issues.”

But Colin Nickless, who represents the estate’s residents’ association, said: “Despite repeated requests by residents and councillors, including the matter being raised in Parliament by Jon Cruddas MP, Havering’s building control have still not provided residents with evidence that the membranes were repaired.”

In December, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) found Circle Housing – now Clarion – breached consumer standards and risked serious detriment to thousands of its tenants in east London.

“Residents of Orchard Village have suffered enough and now it is time the council or, if necessary, [the] Mayor Of London’s office, take responsibility away from Clarion,” continued Mr Nickless, of Broadis Way.

But the issues show no sign of abating.

At the meeting, Cllr White informed councillors: “In line with the legal advice obtained, an inspection of one of the properties in phase three of the development is to be undertaken to ascertain the extent of the problems in relation to the building regulations.

“Legal advice has confirmed that due to the length of time since the development has been completed, no action can be taken in respect of phases one or two.

“Depending on the outcome of the inspection, further investigation and/or legal action will be considered.”


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