Possible delay on home repairs

SOME council tenants needing repairs to their homes could see delays because a district council contractor has gone into administration.

Connaught, one of EDDC’s contractors which carries out responsive repairs and work on empty homes in the west of the district including Exmouth have filed for bankruptcy.

A council spokesman said that they had been ‘tracking the difficulties for some weeks’ and all they could do is maintain the partnership and were looking at hiring new contractors to ensure tenants had their homes maintained.

“They are a key element in our delivery of service to tenants,” admitted the spokesman.

“We are already getting reports of material supply problems and Connaught has acknowledged this, together with an inability to deliver the service currently.

“As a consequence, we have served a notice under the contract, which allows us to send work to other contractors.

“We are passing urgent jobs to Skinners (our other main contractor) for a period until, or if, Connaught can assure us they are able to fulfil their obligations under the contract. We are re-prioritising work so that all urgent repairs are still done as quickly as possible.”

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He added that tenants ‘should be reassured’ that EDDC has plans in place, although work may be undertaken by another contractor.

He added: “We are meeting with contractors and staff, hopefully today (Wednesday), to firm up on these interim arrangements and get a better idea of the longer term implications for us and Connaught.”

Richard Heis, restructuring partner at KPMG and joint administrator said: “We will work closely with customers, employees, subcontractors and alternative providers to ensure services are maintained as far as possible and contracts and employees are transferred to alternative providers.”

Social housing tenants should continue to contact their usual help-line numbers.

Exmouth Councillor Jill Elson, portfolio holder for communities, said: “We have been reassuring tenants that we have plans in place to deal with this crisis.”