Residents in Hanson Street are furious with City West Homes for the shambolic way it has carried out maintenance works on Westminster Council housing stock.
City West Homes (CWH) manage the properties under an arms length management agreement (ALMO) for the City Council.
Maintenance works for seven housing blocks in Hanson Street should have been completed by the end of July but the work has dragged on and will not be finished until mid-January — more than five months late.
One local resident has taken to blogging about the experience and describes what he and his neighbours have had to put up with for months on end.
In an article for Fitzrovia News local resident Edward Kellow has described the chaotic way CWH and its contractors Axis Europe have have been carrying on and how scaffolding and green netting has covered the the buildings leaving residents in near darkness.
“Seven buildings, each with about 11 flats, are home to a mix of households, including many elderly and disabled people. That is over one hundred people who for more than six months have been deprived of natural daylight,” says Kellow.
“The access points to the scaffolding have been situated in front of the doors to the flats. As a result when the ladders are in place the entrances to the flats are obstructed.
“The scaffolding obscures the house names and street numbers which means delivery services can’t identify the addresses they need, and deliveries have been delayed. At the request of residents Axis Europe, the contractor carrying out the work for CWH, put up signs with the house names, but not numbers.
“Between May and August no real work took place. People living in Hanson Street lost their summer. For elderly and disabled residents, unable to escape the confines of their flats, life must have been grim. And it still is,” he says.
Only after residents got together and wrote to the CEO of CWH did they get anywhere. But even after they met with managers the chaos continued.
Quality of work has been so bad that a new team of decorators had to be called in for work to be done again.
Residents joked: “It takes two men to paint a window!”
And it took Axis Europe a very long time to admit that the work was not good enough say the residents who describe the relationship with CWH as difficult, and at times workers on site have been careless and unfriendly.
In a statement to Fitzrovia News City West Homes apologised to residents for the delay saying:
“Unfortunately the major works programme at Hanson Street has been delayed until January 2016. This is due to unforeseen roofing works, which became apparent on the first phase of the scheme. CityWest Homes was unable to proceed with works until the roofing had been rectified and we apologise for the delay caused.
“The full scope of works at Hanson Street includes roofing, window overhauls, replacing tenant front doors with fire standard doors, communal decorations, external masonry and external painting.
We are meeting with residents of Slowley House every week to update them on the progress of works. The quality concerns raised by residents have been fully investigated and we’ve taken immediate action to resolve the issues raised.
“While scaffolding has been on site, the fire exits / main doors have been fully accessible. It was necessary to put scaffolding up and over the roof, as the properties are in a narrow street in the heart of the West End.
“The comfort of our residents and the high quality of works are priorities for us. We hope that residents will continue to talk to us with any concerns they may have to help us ensure the work is completed to the highest standard,” they said.
Fitzrovia News understands that Jonathan Cowie, CEO of City West Homes, has now agreed to meet with residents to address their outstanding concerns.