Victoria Road residents complain about McCarthy and Stone
Victoria Road residents have contacted the HebWeb after 15 months of "living on a building site". The "Retirement Living" development of 32 apartments was due to be finished in January
Monday, 2 March 2015
Thanks to Bernadette Reilly-Jenkins and the residents of Victoria Road for the following report
Construction started in November 2013 when we had a conversation with the Site Foreman at the time. He told us that the the project would be complete and residents living in the building by January 2015. However 15 months later, we are still living on a building site and still enduring the following issues.
We have been totally bombarded by HGV, white vans, cement trucks, skip deliveries etc. At no stage has any consideration been given to the residents, who already have difficulties parking outside there own home due the fact there is no residents' parking.
We have continually approached the Site Manager and have been told they have there own arrangements for parking. However, the situation improves for a few days then our road is filled again with their vehicles.
There have been times when residents cannot access their own property in their own vehicles as the road is blocked. Taxis have not been able to pick up ill people for hospital appointments and elderly people have had to carry shopping from another street. In one instance, a resident was expecting a District Nurse due to recent surgery. She was unable to park on this street due to it being full of construction vehicles, causing delay and distress.
We lost the use of the opposite pavement and opportunities for people to park last year as the company erected tall boarding. We were told that when the pavement was re opened the road that side would be double yellow lined and that residents' parking would be organised for us by McCarthy and Stone. In a recent meeting, the company totally denied this and said it was an issue for the council.
We have a children's park, known locally as The Little Park at the end of the street. Parents with buggys have to walk in the road now due to the amount of vehicles parked on the pavement. This is dangerous and unacceptable.
Looking to the future, how will this street cope with an extra 60 or so people living in these flats? Even with the planned provided spaces within the development (33) where will their visitors park? When asked this question during a recent meeting the flippant reply was, "Well, where do your visitors park?"
We understand that there will be a £240 per annum parking charge for the new residents of Leedham Court. Are they going to pay this or park on Victoria Road?
The onslaught starts at 7am, including Saturday and Sunday. The main issues are HGV and JCBs 'beep beeping' their way through the day, and the concrete mixer which is fired up at 7.50 every morning. This is relentless day in and day out. In addition to this, we have had a still saw operating at 8.30am on a Sunday morning and regular use of an angle grinder before 9am.
The building crew arrive at 7am. The noise of their radios full blast and their shouting and using foul language inevitably wakes us up. They continue to shout all day long over the noise of the trucks and machinery. Horns beep indiscriminately all day long. At one stage, objects were being thrown off high scaffolding clattering to the ground.
This level of noise pollution over an extended period of time has major ramifications. We cannot have our windows or doors open, even throughout the hot Summer last year. One resident is so affected by this situation she has resorted to taking sleeping pills and has recently had to have the dose increased. Another resident, who has broken his leg and is off sick from work, has taken to sleeping at his parents' house as he feels so anxious. We never get a 'lie in' and our leave from work for the last year has been ruined by a lack of peace and quiet.
The vibration from the machinery affects our houses, bearing in mind that they are sturdily built mill houses that have been standing since 1890. There have been reports of windows rattling and objects falling off shelves.
Dust and mud have also become an issue as residents have had to provide extra cover over flooring and furniture to avoid contamination from shoes and pets bringing in mud.
Lack of respect/conduct of builders
We do understand what a building site is like given a load of young men together. However, there have been certain situations that have been unacceptable. They have been witnessed smoking dope during their lunch hour in their car (model and reg are known). Were they capable of operating heavy machinery afterwards?
They have been witnessed outside a resident's house utilising the home owners property (table and chairs) having their lunch and texting. They have taken without permission, a resident's watering can, used and returned it. In another situation, a resident with a medical condition had been to the chemist to pick up a prescription. He had been gone 10 mins and on his return a white van connected to McCarthy and Stone was parked outside his house. The driver of said vehicle smirked in an antagonistic manner when he was asked to move his vehicle.
Between April and May 2014, there were several criminal incidents at the construction site. On a Sunday evening, one resident who lives directly opposite the site entrance was woken up by burglars ramming the entrance to the site with a vehicle. They stole over £1000 worth of insulation that night and had the resident not contacted the police as it was happening, giving a full description of the events, the goods would not have been retrieved.
On another occasion, the Portakabin was burgled of tools and there have been multiple incidents when children have entered the site due to lack of appropriate security. Neighbours have also reported multiple misdemeanours.
McCarthy and Stone relied on the good will of Victoria Rd residents as their only source for security for many months, with their only contribution being a 2" padlock on the front gate until mid July 2013, when under duress and in lieu of a letter of complaint stating we would not be helping them any more, they organised appropriate CCTV cameras.
There was a crane on-site for many months. As parents, we worried that as children were easily accessing the site due to previously cited lack of security, they would climb not only the crane but the scaffolding. This proves once again the lack of concern by McCarthy and Stone for the safety of the local community and its children.
Loss of earnings/services
In January 2015, the residents of Victoria Road's lives were inconvenienced once again by McCarthy and Stone's incompetence, as they cut through phone lines, which in turn resulted in the disconnection of our Sky broadband services. As a result of this one of our residents, who works from home, was unable to work resulting in 2 days loss of pay. The remainder of us were left without phone, TV or broadband services for 48 hrs. A claim for loss of earnings is being pursued. They have not been paid as yet. In general, the rest of the residents affected were not offered any compensation for a service they had paid for, which was interrupted by McCarthy and Stone.
We organised a meeting on 17th February with a representative of the company. He was at best arrogant and totally dismissive of our concerns. McCarthy and Stone have not ingratiated themselves with our community at all and have shown a serious lack of insight into the problems they have created.
There will be at least 50 new elderly residents moving into the neighbourhood and they will be signing on with our GP practice in Valley Road. It is already difficult to get a non urgent appointment, waiting up to 3 weeks, so this will make matters worse for us.
Our quality of life has been seriously affected and we are seeking some compensation. A week's holiday away from all the noise and stress would help. We are also pursuing a claim for rebate/ downgrading band of our council tax and taking up the parking issues with Calderdale Council. We plan to get a petition together and forward it to our local MP and the candidates for General election in May.
We will not give up on this issue and have further meetings planned to discuss matters and plan ways forward.