Bridleways estate in Northampton comes under fire again as dangerous homes await repairs

Sabrina Filbee holds up a chunk of brick, which fell from her house on Bradlaugh Cresent in August.
Sabrina Filbee holds up a chunk of brick, which fell from her house on Bradlaugh Cresent in August.

A mother-of-two who says falling cladding could have killed someone at her house in Northampton last month is still waiting for her housing association to fix the property.

A large front section Sabrina Filbee’s home on Bradlaugh Crescent, Rectory Farm, collapsed in a hail of bricks on August 8, though she says it is a miracle no one was killed.

She had noticed cracks appearing beneath her five-year-old son Kai’s bedroom window a fortnight before the cladding fell and reported it to Genesis Homes, the housing company in charge of the Bridleways Estate in which she lives, but workers never came to fix the problem.

Her story prompted others on the Bridleways Estate to contact Genesis Homes about problems with their houses.

Surveys were carried out by the housing association and five more homes on Bradlaugh Crescent were found with large cracks on the front cladding.

All of those homes have been offered repairs, Genesis says, but Mrs Filbee said the work was nowhere near completion.

She said: “I have still got some blue plastic sheeting nailed to the area where the cladding fell and the house is covered by a big metal Harris fence.

“It’s so sad because my boy can’t have friends round for sleep overs. Their parents are afraid to send their kids round here.

“Our friends joke about bringing hard hats when they come round.”

Mrs Filbee, who also has issues with the landscaping of her garden and plug sockets in the property, says she is yet to receive a completion date for the works to the cladding.

The news comes as several Bridleways estate residents attended a public meeting on Saturday to speak about concerns with their properties, as well as other issues such as an expensive service charge levied on homes in the estate, poor parking, and what many feel has been poor customer service since the estate was built six years ago.

The meeting, was organised by Councillor James Hill (Con, Rectory Farm) and Northampton South MP, David Mackintosh.

Mr Mackintosh said: “I hope the meetings have shown Genesis the scale of the problem and now they need to prove that they are a housing association that cares for the welfare of their residents.

“The residents are absolutely right to be angry about the level of service they have received from Genesis over the years.

“I hope that Genesis will now help the residents bring this very difficult situation to an end.”

Genesis Homes’ head of neighbourhood, Nazir Hafezjee, said the company was “not liable for works to shared ownership and leasehold houses, including Ms Filbee’s property”.

As a landlord, Genesis is responsible for the interior and exterior of the 71 homes at Bridleways, repairs to the exteriors of flats and some communal issues relating to shared ownership and leasehold houses.

He added: “However, in this instance as a goodwill gesture, we are committed to finding a solution for the whole development.

“Genesis will bear the cost of the surveys and also support residents to make (National House Building Council (NHBC) claims.

“We are already working with NHBC to ensure as far as possible this happens smoothly.”

He said the firm should be in a position to appoint a contractor by September 25, to carry out repairs to Mrs Filbee’s home as well as the five other affected properties.

As for the delays, he said: “As a responsible landlord, we must follow a strict procurement process, allowing potential contractors sufficient time to return competitive quotes that realistically reflect the scale and cost of works and deal with any reasonable enquiries they may have.

“Once appointed, we need to give our contractors a suitable lead-in time to enable them to mobilise their workforce and supply chain, order materials as specified, programme the works and execute them.

“Unfortunately, this process can appear to long winded to affected residents and we appreciate that is may seem to residents as if work is not progressing.”