Gardens sinking on Caister housing estate
THEY moved onto a new-build Caister estate with dreams of the perfect family life, but then their gardens mysteriously began to sink into the ground.
Lawns have dropped away by up to a metre at some properties, it is claimed, causing sewerage systems to fail and rats and maggots to appear in drains outside. This, the residents of the Mallards Estate say, has been the nightmare they have faced since they moved in two years ago.
At least two families in social housing in Tamarisk Drive have been affected, and it is understood a number of privately owned homes have also suffered.
The Tamarisk Drive three-bedroom homes, which are marketed for around �150,000, are managed by Orwell Housing Association (OHA) and built by Bloor Homes.
Residents said they were fearful of what their social landlords would think if they spoke out publicly, but they have been locked in dispute trying to get problems resolved.
Gardens have been dug up several times to try to find the cause of the problem, but still it continues.
They claim the housing association has asked them to refer problems to Bloor Homes, as builders are still on site finishing the estate - built on what is believed to be a former flood plain - but little progress has been made.
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A crisis meeting was held with managers from the housing association last week, and residents hope their nightmare will soon be over.
Ron Hanton, county councillor for Caister division, said: 'The residents could have kicked up a lot of dust about this but they've just been hanging in there and waiting for a resolution.
'They didn't feel they were getting anywhere and their gardens were being continually dug up.
'They've suffered with their problems for quite a long time and there's a few children there. They've been really patient and all they want is a solution to their problems. I've got a lot of admiration for them.'
Cllr Hanton said he was optimistic that problems will finally be resolved, and thought the managers he had met last week came across as 'genuine'.
Wendy Evans-Hendrick, director of development and property services for the housing association, said: 'It may well be on an old flood plain but until we know, we're more concerned with getting it put right rather than a witch hunt as to why it's happened.
'Then we'll see if there's any learning that could happen by the association or Bloors.'
She added that a full site survey and soil investigation was carried out before homes were built, and that they were working to resolve problems.
Association managers said they would make a claim through the National House Building Council to get work on the gardens completed if all else fails.
But the builders said they were committed to getting the sinking gardens problems rectified.
Andrew Marns, managing director of Bloor Homes' Eastern division, said: 'As a result of our continuous monitoring and testing on the site a small amount of additional ground settlement has been identified.
'This is limited to the garden areas of specific plots and is not affecting any superstructures on the site.
'Our commitment to our customers and any issues they bring to our attention continues to be our number one priority.'
Bloor Homes is employing specialist contractors to resolve any additional settlement and reinstating.
'We apologise for any inconvenience caused during our testing and reinstating programme and we will do our utmost to keep disruption to a minimum,' he added.
The housing association has 24 properties on the Mallards Estate, and two of them in Tamarisk Drive have been affected.