Housing minister Kit Malthouse urged to act on poor house-building in East Devon

PUBLISHED: 15:52 22 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:52 22 March 2019

Council calls for action on poor quality housebuilding. Picture: Getty Images

Council calls for action on poor quality housebuilding. Picture: Getty Images

Copyright: Francesco Scatena

East Devon District Council has written to the housing minister Kit Malthouse, calling on the Government to fulfil its pledge to streamline the complaints system

Concerns about poor standards of house-building by big developers in East Devon have been raised by councillors in a strongly-worded letter to the Government.

East Devon District Council has written asking housing minister Kit Malthouse to fulfil the Government’s pledge, announced in February 2018, to introduce a simpler system for making complaints against shoddy builders.

The proposal to write the letter was unanimously supported by councillors during a meeting on Wednesday, February 27, when the problems facing many East Devon residents were discussed.

In February 2018 the Government said it would introduce ‘as a priority’ a new property ombudsman to streamline complaints against shoddy builders.

But the Liberal Democrat councillor for Axminster Town, Douglas Hull, told the full council meeting the situation with new house-building in the district seemed to be getting worse, with many people buying new homes which turned out to be of a second-rate standard.

He proposed that ‘we call on the Government to fulfil its pledge to provide this much-needed remedy for homeowners, as a matter of the highest priority’.

The motion was seconded by fellow Liberal Democrat Eleanor Rylance, representing Broadclyst. She said tenants of new-build properties were suffering from sub-standard housing, and were worried about complaining to their landlords for fear of losing their tenancy. She added that, even when complaints were made, issues remained unresolved.

The letter to the housing minister, signed by the council’s chief executive Mark Williams, says: “I think there is now a general view that quality of construction come a very poor second to the pursuit of profit by volume housebuilders. We have know for some time about the failures, both locally and nationally, of the NHBC (National House Building Council) and the House Builders Federation to ensure that all new homes are consistently built to a standard that people buying them can have full confidence in.”

Mr Williams’s letter quotes the motion agreed by the council, and asks Mr Malthouse to ‘let me know what the Government’s intentions are in terms of introducing the promised ombudsman for hard-pressed new home owners’.

A spokesperson for East Devon District Council said there has not yet been a response to the letter.

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