Friday, 14 February 2014

Wornington Green: the 'regen fail' of 'Portobello Square'

When a resident of the brand new building in Bonchurch (renamed 'Badchurch') Road, Wornington Green (marketed 'Portobello Square', at the 'cheap end' of Portobello Road, North Ken) sent me this photo of a botch repair of his bathroom, I was surprised. The comment that the reason for his loo blockage was an instruction leaflet left in a pipe was dreadful but also sort of funny.

His ceiling had also sprung a leak, which was not entirely a surprise as I knew what was on the roof, having scoped this out from nearby Trellick Tower, and seeing that it was pretty much a lake with lots of construction material and junk on it.

Frustration had also been expressed about poor workmanship in other areas of his flat, so I asked for more. However I did not expect to see this:

- bad damp and peeling paintwork due to 'missing mastic' on the outside of the window-frame. Given that the resident had moved in barely three months previously, this was frankly appalling.

The following weekend it rained again, with the following result, a plague of boils on the ceiling 'like an alien', which finally burst:

Then I was sent the following, showing a 'living wall' in his neighbour's terrace, and some scary (and dangerous to health) mould in his bathroom:

- this building has been occupied for just three months. Most revealing of all is a small but very eloquent detail of finishing: 

Now I can't pretend to be good at DIY, but I do think I could do better than this with one eye and a glue gun. And I wouldn't repair my garden shed that badly.

This of course is the social housing; is it truly built by unskilled labour, as we are told? Right next door to it is the 'market housing', which looks the same from the outside, but you can't help but wonder if it is the same appalling low quality of workmanship on the inside. Very very soon I will get into a 'market flat', and find out if the reality matches the PR on which they sold the building, off plan, to wealthy investors in Hong Kong.


'a crime scene'.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Wornington Green; life in a sieve

STOP PRESS 6.2.14: 'Pic of how my toilet was repaired via tiled bathroom wall. The fault causing regular blockages was the fitting instructions which were left inside one of the components!' Tenant of brand new 'penthouse' flat in Bonchurch Road, 'Portobello Square'.

Once upon a time, many years ago, a mummy pigeon gave a sign; it was a dirty protest. Catalyst Housing found it unnecessarily provocative and weren't amused.

You may imagine that a landlord who allowed *this* pigeon protest to happen on a stairwell in daily use would be made to pay the price.

You may think that a landlord who allowed a rainwater hopper, within reach of a kitchen chair, to remain blocked for years and years, would be accountable for poor maintenance and management. Maybe it was a pigeon shower?

You may imagine that this is in a Third World country, an overflowing paladin so battered it's near collapse. So here is the daily bread for pigeons and other pests (rats and other creatures most people wouldn't wish to feed). 

That's kind, Catalyst Housing.

What kind of landlord would allow a cosy pigeon roost and give residents a special 'poo cover' when they park? A considerate one, silly.

Is this some poor woman's bathroom, where her children have to bathe?

Surely this can't be a child's bedroom? 

The books are wrinkling with damp. Getting a bit worried now.

Oh dear, the place is falling apart 


Now there's lovely!


And yet - oh dear, this doesn't look like good workmanship. Let's hope they patch that up quick.

And this lock-up door is completely different from the one beside it. Whatever is going on?

- and this won't do at all! Surely not the show house?

This terrace wall is actually crooked, not a good look.

It's ok they've hidden it from view, they are obviously going to fix it all now. Phew.

There is damp here but hey - they haven't fitted the coping stone on top of the brick facing yet, it'll be fine really, ARDMORE wouldn't let it leak.

Oh dear, the coping stone is in place now, but the damp has spread a metre down the wall.

Weird how the damp is spreading between the brick cladding sections, let's hope it isn't leaking inside eh?

I'm sure they'll fix that now it's been noticed. 'Teething problem', 'snagging' - surely? Nothing whatever to worry about.

If I didn't know ARDMORE are such wonderful builders, I'd say that was poor quality construction. But what do I know?

Very strange how the street level brick cladding is soaked here, definitely a one-off,  let's hope it isn't getting inside.


Oh dear, it looks like the nice tenant had a major leak from her brand new bathroom that ARDMORE fitted into her living room, bedroom and downstairs bathroom. 

The nice tenant says ARDMORE meant to fit the drainpipe in October. It's February now.
Oh well, they're probably quite busy.

I wonder if the drainpipe that ARDMORE forgot to fit is causing any problems?

Now that's not good, look, there's been a leak from the ROOF that ARDMORE built and it's come into the sitting room of this tenant.

You'd think maybe someone didn't use sealant on the plasterboard; the rain that has mysteriously leaked from the roof created a huuuge bubble behind the paint before it burst. POP! Into the sitting room.


Oh no, look, the £1m mews houses have puddles on the roof; it hadn't rained for two days! 

Can you believe it? This tenant says her ceiling collapsed on her bed. That can't be right. Now they aren't willing to pay compensation? Nah, that can't be right either.

Oh dear, another collapsed ceiling by the looks of it. This can't be right, it's a £1m mews house. Crikey!

Now don't tell me the lock-ups leak, after all that hard work patching up the 'lintels' - sorry that's too grand a word for this -


Now someone says their stock is ruined and ARDMORE is refusing to pay compensation. They say that has happened to other traders too.
I absolutely cannot believe that.

The weird thing is, Catalyst told us the old buildings weren't 'fit for purpose' as they were damp and leaked. 

Now the new buildings of so-called 'Portobello Square' are damp and leak. I'm so confused! 



They may also wish to consider the following 'teething problems' that I have been asked to help with in the new building on Wornington Road: 

a, poor tv reception, no mobile signal, no internet connection, kitchen tap broke, black dust (tenant has asthma)

b, cannot get post, postman confused by strange numbering of new building, black dust

c, rubbish chute on ground floor not functioning, had to take rubbish to paladins outside, boiler leaked twice, now mended

d, balcony floor not finished, could not use throughout last summer, heating not working, black dust, find V-Pro electricity system confusing

e, poor tv reception, sometimes cuts off, frequent power cuts (also happened while I was in the building), phone cuts out when power cuts out, so no way of contacting the outside world in emergency (as no mobile signal either), mail arrives late, once this caused late bill payment problems

f, leak into balcony from drainpipe from roof three times, once so bad balcony decking was ‘floating’, damp patch in kitchen ceiling, fixed twice, electricity ‘very expensive’

e, washing line above bath too high, bath too deep to get in and out safely

From tenants of traders’ lock-ups

f, trader of hot food stall has had stock ruined three times by flooding of lock-up. This has cost thousands of pounds and is threatening his business; state that Ardmore refuse to compensate

g, furniture shop has had lock-up flooded and stock drenched; state that Ardmore refuse to compensate