Highgate residents hit out at ‘shoddy’ management of estate
Angry leaseholders on a flagship Highgate estate have accused Camden Council of ‘mismanaging’ their homes after major renovations carried out three years ago have already begun to crumble.
The Whittington Estate in Dartmouth Park Hill underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment from 2005 – 2008, which included waterproofing, installing new drains, and repainting the windows.
But residents say the repairs, which were plagued by delays and rocketing costs, are already unravelling.
Kate Spillane, a leaseholder who has lived on the 1970’s estate since it was built, had to pay �13,000 for her share of the 2008 major works, yet she says the paintwork is already blistering and her window panes have become rotten.
“The paintwork is disgusting”, she said.
“You wouldn’t believe it was done so recently. If you hired in an ordinary painter and decorator you would expect a guarantee of at least five years. Yet it is already blistering on one of my windows.
“I paid a lot of money for these works but I’m concerned that I am going to have to fork out more because it has already become so deteriorated. I could end up having to pay thousands more.
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“I haven’t got any trust in Camden Council’s ability to manage anything anymore.”
Residents also claim their lives have been blighted by persistent flooding which they say only began after a different drainage system was installed in 2008.
“Sometimes we have to paddle through water to get to our homes”, said Ms Spillane.
“It has been a catalogue of problems of the management of the estate. If they had managed it properly in the first place then we wouldn’t have had half of these problems.”
The block has also gone without hot water since last Friday – a recurring problem which is thought to be unrelated to the major works, but which some residents say is evidence of the council’s ‘shoddy’ management of the building.
Declan McCafferty, an architect and leaseholder who has lived on the estate for 13 years, said: “A key part of the works were waterproofing the garages, but they aren’t any more waterproofed than before, mine is actually worse.
“I have been short changed. It is not just the leaseholders who have had to foot the bill, but the tax payers have had to as well.”
Highgate councillor Maya de Souza said ‘residents are demoralised’ by the poor repairs and that the council should make sure future works at the estate are high quality ‘to keep future costs down’.
A Camden council spokeswoman said: “We are aware of some residents’ concerns in respect of the capital works undertaken on the Whittington Estate which commenced in 2005. We are actively working with residents to address these issues and visited the estate recently to discuss how we can take it forward.”