Disabled mum's anger in house revamp row
Disabled mum Gemma Greenhalgh thought she had found the house of her dreams when she and husband Andrew moved into their new home on Rossall Road in Cleveleys last year.
But their dream quickly turned into a nightmare after paying out £51,000 to a builder – and one year later still have unfinished walls, rain coming through windows and a mound of rubbish in the back garden.
Mum-of-one Gemma, 35, who has cauda equina syndrome, a rare spine condition which causes progressive leg weakness, says she has since suffered a breakdown, which led to her having a miscarriage in May, six weeks into her second pregnancy.
Gemma and Andrew, 44, hired professional builder, who works in Blackpool, Cleveleys, Lytham, and St. Annes, to install an orangery at the back of their home as well as making other small improvements for a fee of £58,000 in April last year.
But the builder, who The Gazette at this stage has chosen not to name, defended his work, saying that the amount of work done matched the amount he had been paid.
He said:“They have had the money’s worth of work done on the house. There’s nothing wrong with the job whatsoever.”
But Gemma said: “It was just little things at first. We noticed that the door frames he had installed were low-quality and didn’t fit properly. It didn’t look like something a professional would do.
“We asked him to brick a door up and instead he just boarded it up with plywood and plastered over it. But we were so desperate just to get it done that we overlooked it.”
Now, more than one year later, the Greenhalgh’s house remains in a state of disrepair, with faulty brickwork, a half-built orangery and a mountain of rubbish piled up in their back garden.
The builder said:“Every problem that was raised has been fixed. Any time they phoned up with a complaint we have rectified it.
“I have bent over backwards for this job and I know many people who would back me up on that.”
Gemma, who became pregnant with her second child in early April, disagreed.
She said: “Nothing is completed. The worst part is the orangery. I’ve got half-built brick walls and support beams where the roof should be.
“The floor is concrete and one of the walls is missing completely.
“There hasn’t been £51,000 of work done on this house.
“Just before Easter we contacted him and asked when it would be finished. I never heard from him again.”
She added that she and her husband must now fork out more than £20,000 to other building companies to complete the extension, as well as rectify the damage caused by rainwater leaking into the house through the unfinished walls.
She said: “We were both blinded by the fact that we just wanted it finished, and it seemed like it was finally within reaching distance.
“I was so stressed. I suffered a nervous breakdown, and I suffered a miscarriage at the end of May.
“This whole situation has affected us physically, mentally and emotionally. It put a strain on our marriage and caused arguments with our family.
“I don’t know what to think. I just don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”
The Greenhalghs and the builder have since been in contact via their solicitors.
The builder said: “The couple ran out of money in October which meant I didn’t get some of the money I was owed until January, which left some ill feeling.
“However, I have never said that I will not go back. I have told my solicitor to inform them that I’m happy to finish the job as long as they can guarantee they I will get paid at the end.”
He added that the reason the remaining work to be done appeared to be worth more than the remaining £7,000 of the £58,000 quote was because of extra work he had done at the property at Mr and Mrs Greenhalgh’s request, though he would not reveal what that extra work was.