Orchard Village resident accuses Clarion Housing Group of talking rubbish

PUBLISHED: 17:21 10 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:05 11 May 2017

Colin Nickless holding the metal pole that fell off the building. Picture: Colin Nickless.

Colin Nickless holding the metal pole that fell off the building. Picture: Colin Nickless.

Colin Nickless

A resident has accused a housing group of talking “rubbish” after a piece of metal cladding fell from a building.

On Thursday, April 27, a 10ft piece of metal cladding fell from Sunflower Court, Lower Mardyke Avenue, Rainham – a block on the Orchard Village estate.

When the Recorder contacted Clarion Housing – formerly Circle Housing – a spokeswoman initially said the area was immediately made safe but this was refuted by the chair of the estate’s resident associate, Colin Nickless.

“That’s not true,” he said.

“I picked it up from the ground where it had fallen. It had been laying there since Thursday the week before.”

The spokeswoman then said: “As soon as we received your media enquiry Willmott Dixon attended and placed some barriers around the area to make it safe.”

But Mr Nickless continued: “That’s rubbish.”

Several incidents have been reported by residents of pieces of metal falling from buildings at the estate.

In January 2015, Zoe Allen, of Snowdrop Court, was walking with her children when the heavy object fell from the third floor of the block.

And in May that year a mum-of-four, who wished to remain unnamed, saw a slab of concrete fall from the roof of a block into her garden.

The spokeswoman continued: “It isn’t acceptable for cladding to come loose.”

She added that a Wilmott Dixon cherry picker would attend the estate on Monday, May 8.

“We will be utilising this to make check the suitability of the current fittings for cladding across all of the blocks over the next few days to ensure this does not happen again.”

But contrary to this Mr Nickless said Willmot Dixon’s cherry picker did not attend on Monday but on Tuesday, coinciding with a visit by Jon Cruddas, Labour candidate for Dagenham and Rainham.

Earlier this year Mr Cruddas, who has represented the seat since 2001, raised concerns about Orchard Village in parliament.

Mr Nickless also added that a Pellings’ cherry picker – the contractors at the time – checked the estate on Wednesday, December 21.

He continued: “Either they didn’t notice [loose cladding] or they noticed it and told Circle who didn’t do anything about it and kept the public at risk.”

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