Residents face nightmare of losing their homes during works

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Work is already underway at the Old Tannery

Long-suffering residents living in Canterbury’s Old Tannery development face being moved out of their homes for up to two months to allow for upgrade works.

Developer Bellway Homes has already started work on some empty flats, ripping out carpets and replacing plaster board walls.

The work comes almost three years exactly since a block in Creine Mill Lane North was incinerated by a massive blaze in which up to 45 units were reported to have been destroyed.

Its devastating speed prompted questions about the standard of the original development.

This week Bellway admitted the work is being carried out because “the quality of some of the construction work does not meet its high standards”.

A view of Tannery Square in the Old Tannery

Residents complain they have had little notification surrounding plans to move them out of their homes while the work is undertaken.

Nicola Armario, 37, lives with her children opposite the block which burned down. She told the Canterbury Journal: “You have to ask why the flats weren’t built properly in the first place and why it took a massive fire to find this out.

“We are not really being told anything, but it sounds like it’s going to be nightmare. Are they really going to be able to put everything back like it was?”

The Old Tannery was completed in 2008 and comprises some 500 units.

On the afternoon of July 4, 2015 a massive fire took hold in the block fronting the Rheims Way.

It destroyed most of the building and all its contents. The block was rebuilt, turning the recently constructed estate back into a building site.

While work on the other flats goes on, residents will have to vacate their homes for six to eight weeks. They will be rehoused elsewhere in the Tannery and their furniture will be put into storage.

Bellway has promised that homes will be put back exactly the way residents have left them and insists the remedial work is necessary.

Company spokesman David Ing said: “Bellway regrets that on inspection the quality of some of the construction work does not meet its high standards.

“The improvement works will rectify this and ensure that all properties at the Old Tannery meet the company’s high standards.

“It will start in September 2018 and residents will be required to move out of their homes whilst works are completed. A plan has been put in place and is in the process of being communicated to residents to ensure disruption is minimised throughout the project.”

1 COMMENT

  1. So now at last some admission of guilt from Bellway! They constructed homes that did not resist fire and we still do not know how the fire spread so easily. They have been rebuilt to the same unsafe format.

    The Housing Association, who bought the homes that burnt down, was bringing a case against Bellway, but I do not know its outcome.

    Since the fire Bellway’s share price has risen considerably so nobody has learnt any lessons.

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