The ‘West End Extra’ reports;
“WORRIED homeowners warned City Hall that refurbishment works on a historic estate were doomed two years before the £10million contract fell through earlier this month.
Works on the Grade II-listed Hallfield estate, Bayswater, were scrapped after a damning report was released claiming less than a quarter of the work was finished after 18 months.
This week it emerged that leaseholders on the estate, built in the 1950s, had petitioned the council before work began in 2012, warning that the project was rushed and poorly planned.
A letter seen by the West End Extra and signed by scores of residents in 2012, said: “We are a little puzzled, surprised and alarmed to see the speed at which [plans for] these works are progressing. We feel that these works are being carried out in more haste than is necessary.”
Nasser Abbasi, who lives in Tenby House, this week said: “It’s just been a farce. We didn’t want the work to be started because they didn’t have the planning permission and the windows weren’t right, but they still went ahead for the works. I don’t know who’s going to pay for this now.
“We tried to warn them that this was going to happen, but despite all that they were hell-bent on getting it started.”
This week City Hall apologised for the delay and said they are searching for a solution that includes “agreed designs for windows and doors”.
Residents have consistently complained that their homes had been turned into a building site, while little work seemed to be progressing. Works were overseen for the council by CityWest Homes and Mr Abbasi said: “It’s amazing, considering the amount of money that’s involved in this, that you can get this lack of management and mistakes. It’s so amateurish.”
A dark netting had been draped over scaffolding on several blocks, with residents claiming they were “left in total darkness for two summers”.
He said: “The scaffolds were up for two years. It was a building site for two years with no work going on. Even during the summer it was pitch black and we had to keep our lights on in the day. We’ve missed two summers because of this green netting they have. But the fact is it’s not finished yet. They still haven’t got the windows finished; the doors were supposed to have been done.”
He said: “Our lives have been disrupted. We have had to live on this building site with dust and darkness.
“There have been issues of burglaries and people climbing into people’s windows in the middle of the night. There was a lot of issues associated with the works. For months the scaffolding was up and nobody was doing any work. It’s a farce of the grandest proportions.”
Earlier this month Westminster and building firm Mulalley agreed a “mutual withdrawal” from the contract after an internal council report claimed progress was “exceedingly slow”.
A council spokesman said: “The council is committed to establishing the best solution for residents on the Hallfield estate. We apologise, this will take time, but we will be ensuring we find the most pragmatic way forward which includes agreed designs for windows and doors.”