'Devastated' Fylde flats residents lose battle over bill

Some of the dilapidated properties at Lindsay Court
Some of the dilapidated properties at Lindsay Court

Residents  who say they face losing their homes over  huge repair bills have lost a fight to have the work scaled down.

Around 70 people at Lindsay Court off Squires Gate Lane went to a housing tribunal earlier this month at Blackpool Magistrates to oppose plans for a £2.8m revamp of the 16 blocks of flats.

Some of the dilapidated properties at Lindsay Court

Some of the dilapidated properties at Lindsay Court

But the judge has ruled the scheme is viable and the cheapest way of carrying out the repairs to roofs, guttering, concrete lintels and to tackle damp.

The residents, mainly pensioners, say they are devastated at the ruling since they will have to share the cost at up to £30,000 each and may have to forfeit their leases if made to pay.

They are due to meet, along with the management company for the flats Homestead Consultancy Services, officials from Fylde Council on Friday to see if there is any way of getting funding towards the scheme.

One of the organisers of the residents’ group Norma Booth said: “Everyone is devastated. We are still convinced it can be done cheaper and have got quotes, but our builder’s effort was made to look small in court which we feel was totally unfair.

“It is terrible, people are already thinking they will have to go, but we will fight on and we are trying to raise funds for a barrister.”

The flat owners say that as many of them are elderly they will struggle to raise the cash needed through loans or mortgages and that many are on basic pensions so cannot afford to ay them back.

But David Bentham, from Homestead, said his company had never had to take back leases from residents and he was hopeful that some help with funding might be found and that an equity release scheme might help.

He said: “We are due to meet Fylde Council this week. It does not make sense for people to lose their homes and have to be found accommodation when there is some already available like this if the work is done.”

In the housing tribunal , judge Laurence Bennett heard how no work had been done on the 16 blocks of flats by successive management groups for years leaving them in a poor state of repair with values plummeting.

He heard about the residents alternative, cheaper revamp plan. But he said a piecemeal approach would be more expensive in the long run.

He said: “Bearing in mind phasing is inappropriate but noting the difficulties faced by some leaseholders, we nevertheless reach the conclusion that this consideration cannot modify or defeat the managers’ obligations to carry out the work as proposed.”