Blackpool residents face uncertain future with faulty homes and half-finished estate after construction firm collapses

Foxhall residents left with problems with the new homes after Marcus Worthington went bust
Foxhall residents left with problems with the new homes after Marcus Worthington went bust
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Householders at an award-winning £50m estate in one of the poorest wards in Blackpool have been left devastated after the firm building the estate went into administration.

Homes have been left half-built while some residents who have moved in already have been left with problems including leaking plumbing – and even a hole in the roof.

Andy Thompson and Kelsey Horth

Andy Thompson and Kelsey Horth

People living in the newest parts of the Foxhall estate say they have been left in the dark – with nowhere to turn for help.

Catherine Wigley of Blundell Street said: “It is terrible. We have a big list of snags and no one to sort them out. We just don’t know whose responsibility it is.

Wyre-based construction firm Marcus Worthington and Company hit financial trouble last month and professional services company PWC was appointed to administer it.

However Hollinwood Homes Ltd, the residential division of Marcus Worthington Group, is unaffected along with two other group companies Marcus Worthington Properties Limited and Stonewell Property Company Ltd.

Catherine and Margaret Wigley

Catherine and Margaret Wigley

Hollinwood Homes was the firm that residents bought or part-bought their Foxhall homes from, but since the building team were taken off site, they say they cannot contact anyone about the scores of problems with the new homes.

The estate was developed from 2013 by Hollinwood Homes in partnership with Blackpool Council, the Homes and Communities Agency and Great Places Housing Group, as part of a wider regeneration of the area and the creation of a new community.

The 400-home plan collected the ‘most innovative scheme award’ at the Royal Town Planning Institute North West Planning Achievement Awards in 2015.

The mix of two, three and four-bedroom properties on the 19-acre site between Central Drive, Rigby Road and Tyldesley Road has streets named after former Blackpool FC greats.

Daylight showing through Andy and Kelseys roof

Daylight showing through Andy and Kelseys roof

Building work has stopped on many half-built houses in the area and many of the roads have been left unfinished, without asphalt, and flooded in recent rains.

Many of the homes were bought in a shared ownership programme – a scheme to help people get on the property ladder by having part mortgage and part rental to spread the substantial costs which makes it a barrier for people on lower wages.

The rental side of the deal is handled by Chelsea-based property company Heylo.

The Gazette tried to contact Marcus Worthington Group, and Hollinwood Homes but was unable to get through. Heylo Homes failed to comment at time of going to press.

Ms Wigley is one of many residents who have shared ownership.

She moved in at the end of May and said the residents had been left with a host of problems they could not afford to solve.

She said: “I had the builders out twice because a pool kept appearing in front of the toilet. We have a tub underneath it to catch water.

“My balcony, which was one of the things which made me buy the house, has never been finished off. It’s supposed to have glass in but it is all boarded up.”

She said it would cost her £500 to have the glass fitted, money she simply has not got.

She added: “The paint comes off the walls inside when you try to wipe them down.

“They sent the site manager out about the toilet and he and another workman accused me of peeing on the floor. It was so embarrassing.

“We got a friend who is a plumber to look at it and he said the pipes have just not been connected properly. The openings are literally just balancing on top of each other. The toilet smell keeps me awake at night.

“Just before all this happened we saw builders doing the roof of the house at the end and they were literally just putting black bin bags down and the tiles on top of them. That cannot be right.”

David Cheetham of Stan Mortesen Avenue said there was sewage in the back garden due to flooding when it rains, there was a problem with fire doors and the house was not painted on the outside.

He said: “I have only been in four weeks before the company went into administration.

“Before that they kept on saying they were going to fix things but didn’t.

“There is an inch gap under the fire door which is a real danger.

“It is part rented. The thing that is bothering me more than anything is that I bought my part of this house with an inheritance.

“My dad told me to spend the money to get a nice place to live.”

Andrew Thompson and Kelsey Horth, who live in Blundell Street, have been left with a large hole in their roof which lets in the rain.

Andrew said: “It has all just been bodged. They have just thrown these houses up. There were lads on one roof putting down bin bags instead of roofing felt. It’s a shame, they should be really good houses with the layout and design.

“The missing roof tile means that all the insulation in the loft is wet. We have got damp patches on the walls all over.

“There are cracks right up the corners of the bedroom wall and across the ceiling. It looks like it will come down. I am worried it might fall on the children.

“Outside the driveway is a mess and floods all the time in the rain.”

Kelsey said: “There are cracks everywhere in the plaster on the walls and tiles missing from the roof .

“We have tried to call them many times and they said they would send someone out but didn’t. Now their phones just ring out or don’t ring properly.

“We feel gutted now. We wished we had never bought this house.”

Neighbours Alan Wood and Paula Pickles who moved in in June said before the builders went into administration they were struggling to get either housing company Hollinwood Homes or shared ownership agents Heylo to act.

Paula said: “Our living room is draughty and when the wind blows there is a terrible banging from outside. I think the cladding or something is loose.

“When we moved in the garden was full of builders’ rubble and broken glass.

“We have children and they could not play out it had been left in such a mess.

“The road outside is under water half the time, there’s a problem with the drains and there are no street lights so it does not feel safe at night. The council has said it won’t adopt the road because it is not finished.

“Because it has not been made up properly there are massive drops to the kerbs which makes it difficult for our car.”

Alan said: “We’ve had trouble with doors not fitting and floors not straight.”

Paula added: “The main thing was that no one told us anything. Before the company went, we tried to get them to sort things out. The Wednesday before, we spoke to the woman at the estate office and she said they had all been called into a meeting the next day. Now there is no one there and no one is answering the phones. There are so many companies involved, we don’t know who to contact.”

A council spokesperson said: “Following Marcus Worthington Construction going into administration we are looking to support the developer Hollinwood Homes to continue the build of the development and are reviewing the options available to ensure the project is successfully completed.

“The responsibility for any remedial works remains with the developer as is the case with all new build projects. New owners also have the assurance of being covered by an NHBC warranty.”