A furious mother of two says a housing association’s inability to fix a wall at their home could have cost a life, after it collapsed in a hail of bricks on Saturday.
Sabrina Filbee, of Bradlaugh Crescent, says her husband Gary is lucky to be alive after a chunk of their property, which they part own with housing association Genesis Homes fell onto their family car at 3pm on Saturday with a loud bang.
She said: “Gary had been underneath that spot only minutes before unloading the car from B&Q.
“Thankfully he decided to go out the back for a cigarette just before it came crashing down, if he hadn’t there would have been a fatality.
“We had to joke - they say smoking kills you but in this case, it saved his life.”
Mrs Filbee, 36, noticed cracks appearing underneath the window of her five-year-old son Kai’s bedroom more than a fortnight ago.
Back on July 21, she called Genesis Homes, based in London, to ask them to fix the issue.
She said: “You could see this did not look like a settling crack, it looked like the wall had detached from the rest of the property.”
Mrs Filbee was told at the time workers would respond to her home within 10 working days.
But no worker came and after 14 working days the wall collapsed...as she had warned.
She said: “My son was in the house and he likes to run around, he could have easily gone out the front.
“I haven’t cried in years but every time I think about it I get emotional.”
As of yesterday the family was still having to stay in the house, even though they were told to by a third party that it is not safe.
They claim to have had to cordon off the rubble themselves, although Genesis Homes disputes this.
A spokeswoman for Genesis Homes said: “As to the time it took from the incident being reported, we will be conducting a full review.
“The safety of our residents is really important to us. We are really pleased that no one was hurt in this.
“As to what we are doing we have had people round there to make the area safe today (Monday).
“We have a team of contractors who are locally based and they have been asked to check on a regular basis to see if the site is safe.”
The Filbee family claim to have been offered a room at a Premier Inn for the time being.
But the incident has also called into question the quality of all the homes on Bradlaugh Crescent, part of the Bridleways estate, built to the same specifications.
The houses were completed in 2009 and much of the surrounding estate, which was built by McCann Homes and is managed by Genesis Homes, is social housing.
In the rubble of the Filbee family wall, an inspection shows the bricks were merely fastened to a plaster wall with a type of adhesive.
Only a few yards down the road another home shows signs of cracks on the outer wall.
MP for Northampton South, David Mackintosh, said: “The Bridleways Estate has been a nightmare for residents ever since it was built, and is an issue which has kept me busy during my time as the local councillor and as the Member of Parliament.”
Meanwhile the Filbee family face an agonising wait in a house which they feel is unsafe.
“My friend lives in a house which is 100 years old and the exterior of it is still as strong as ever,” Mrs Filbee, a customer liaison officer with Anglain Water, said. “Our house is only five years old, this shouldn’t be happening.”