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Gants Hill ‘scaffold towers’ residents left in danger after toxic gas duct blocked by builders’ debris

PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 July 2017 | UPDATED: 17:11 06 July 2017

Problems continue for residents of Gabrielle House, three years on, this time with mould appearing in stairwells and debris blocking gas flows

Problems continue for residents of Gabrielle House, three years on, this time with mould appearing in stairwells and debris blocking gas flows

Archant

Families living in Gants Hill’s infamous “scaffold towers” were left in danger after builders covered up a flat’s gas flue with debris.

Problems continue for residents of Gabrielle House, three years on, this time with mould appearing in stairwells and debris blocking gas flowsProblems continue for residents of Gabrielle House, three years on, this time with mould appearing in stairwells and debris blocking gas flows

Gabrielle House and Jasmine House, at the corner of Perth Road and Eastern Avenue, have been a permanent building site since 2015, with scaffolding surrounding the tower blocks.

Numerous residents have complained to the Recorder of the “unbearable” living situation, but now a plumber, who lives in Jasmine House, said sloppy workmanship put families at risk.

Kevin Owens, 43, said that the builders, carrying out the ongoing repair work, left rubble over a key pipe coming out of his neighbour’s boiler.

“The flue that lets waste gas come out, the builders covered it with debris. They’re stopping the spare gas coming out,” he explained.

Problems continue for residents of Gabrielle House, three years on, this time with mould appearing in stairwells and debris blocking gas flowsProblems continue for residents of Gabrielle House, three years on, this time with mould appearing in stairwells and debris blocking gas flows

This duct performs the vital task of removing waste toxic gases from the premises.

“The worst case scenario is carbon monoxide fills up in the flat, this could lead to death,” he added.

Kevin and his partner have lived in Jasmine House since 2009.

First billed as a luxury block of 214 flats, the towers soon had problems with water leaks.

Owners Taylor Wimpey embarked on a supposed year long programme of repairs in 2015, but 30 months on residents’ flats are still surrounded with scaffolding, which will not come down until at least March 2018.

Residents’ balconies are a building site, and they have nicknamed the flats the “scaffold towers”.

Kevin says ever since it has been like “living in a dark box”.

The water leaks have not stopped, and last month one of the stairwells became “completely flooded”.

“You can see all of the water coming through the walls, there’s mould everywhere, it’s a complete mess,” Kevin explained.

“I’ve been in the building trade for 24 years and I’ve never seen a work site like this, it’s filthy.”

A Taylor Wimpey spokesman confirmed the debris had been cleared, and apologised to residents.

“Any incidents of debris falling on to properties or gas flues being blocked should be reported to our site team immediately so that we can deal with them as quickly as possible,” he said.


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