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Newquay residents' plea for home repairs at Sanctuary Housing estate

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: February 27, 2013

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"WE HAVE been neglected for 16 years."

Those are the words of furious Estuary View residents who claim their housing association has failed to properly maintain their homes.

Dozens of residents of the Sanctuary Housing estate in Newquay have said 'enough is enough' after enduring freezing cold rooms, bowed windows, leaking gutters and damp-infested rooms.

They have now written to Housing Minister Mark Prisk, Newquay and St Austell MP Stephen Gilbert and even Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw asking for their help.

Pensioner Kate Sweeney said: "Nothing has really been done for 16 years.

"There is a real problem in my property with bowed windows and when the maintenance team comes out to repair them all they do is tighten the hinges and reseal them, but this is not fixing the problem. It's just a 'bodge it and leg it' job."

The 65-year-old, who suffers from osteoporosis, continued: "The wind and the cold is a real problem in the house. When I put in a call to Sanctuary I was told that I wasn't a priority and that I would have to wait three weeks. I was told to put kitchen towels in the window [to stop the draught]."

She said one workman who came to her home described her windows as "unrepairable".

Neighbour, 65-year-old Sue Smith, said her property was also in desperate need of repair.

"The guttering has got plants growing out of it," she said.

"It's like Niagara Falls when it rains, with all the water running down the wall.

"The windows are also bowed and I have kitchen doors that are hanging off with rusty hinges and kitchen drawers that have been stuck together with glue. I have been here for 16 years and the problems started at these flats shortly after I moved in. It is just a long list of problems."

Sue has now written to a list of MPs and ministers, including Mr Gilbert, who said: "Over recent months I've become increasingly concerned with the way in which Sanctuary Housing is managing the homes it lets out in Newquay.

"My office has been contacted by residents across the town about the conditions of the homes they are living in and which Sanctuary manages, and I'm actively working to resolve those cases too.

"Indeed, just last week I was on another Sanctuary estate in the town where residents were also waiting for it to complete simple repairs in a timely way.

"Stable, decent and affordable accommodation should be available to everyone and I've written to Sanctuary's chief executive to ask for a meeting to discuss residents' concerns. Tenants who pay their rent should be entitled to expect their landlord to address failings in a speedy way, but it looks like Sanctuary is falling well short of that."

In response, a spokesman for Sanctuary Housing said: "It is our understanding that all of the windows at Estuary View are made of uPVC. We have, over time, replaced some of the seals around the windows, hinges and handles when they have become worn.

"We offered to do a stock condition survey with all the residents to address any outstanding issues, and this is scheduled for today (Wednesday)."

He went on: "The gutters are scheduled to be cleaned again on Thursday."

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